Tory scum2
Church of England

Vicar regrets not being able to ban Tories from Communion

This is a guest post by a (necessarily) anonymous priest of the Church of England.

_________

Can I be a Christian and a Conservative?

A question which, 50 years ago, it would probably not have occurred to anyone to ask. First, because the answer to it was obviously “yes” – there were plainly plenty of people who were both, some prominently so. And secondly, because the question would have seemed unaskably insulting. One didn’t publicly question the confessed faith of a fellow Christian, even if one harboured private doubts about aspects of his or her life or behaviour. It might be understandable to wonder about the faith of one who simultaneously espoused Christianity and a political position which explicitly rejected the validity of religious faith, eg Communism; but to accuse even them of not being Christian if they claimed to be would have seemed the height of arrogance. Their faith was a matter between them and their Saviour, and intrusion into this area – by anyone except those from whom they might seek ghostly counsel – would have constituted a gross discourtesy.

So when did this change? And how is it that the confessed Christian faith of a Marxist has become less open to question than that of a Tory? I ask, because my Christian credentials have been challenged more fiercely in the aftermath of the 2015 UK General Election than they were when I was undergoing the (rigorous) discernment and formational processes for ordination in the Church of England – or indeed, I believe, before or since.

This is partly, without doubt, an aspect of the growth of social media and my engagement with them. If I choose to reveal my political or religious outlook (or both) to online contacts whom I may not know personally, I am at the very least implicitly tolerating disagreement with them. Some kind souls will keep their counsel even if they do disagree; and there is perhaps more rejoicing in heaven over one wounding riposte not tweeted than any number of helpful Bible verses or pious reminders in 140 characters of one’s religious duty. But I enter into the fray forewarned, and I must not expect to be allowed to opine unchallenged.

However, my faith in Jesus Christ and my adherence to His Church is what I confess above and beyond all else. It is of a transcendingly different order to my political convictions and social attitudes; and no-one – but no-one – is permitted to tell me that I am not a Christian. Yet there are some who are not inhibited by this; who are pleased to tell me, publicly, that my Tory vote in the General Election is proof not just of my selfish indifference to the plight of the poor (for instance) but of my unfitness to call myself a Christian. These critics appear to be quite untroubled by the self-righteousness and arrogance they display, nor by the calibre of the offence they give.

And I’m not just talking about celebrity clergy and the other usual suspects. The vicar of X (“husband, dad and all round nice bloke”) tweets: “If you’re a Christian, and you voted Tory yesterday, and you see me in the next 48-72 hours, it would be a good idea not to mention it.” A reply comes back: “Can you ban them from Communion?” The “all round nice bloke” replies: “Sadly not, praying that desire to beat them with a crowbar shouting ‘what were you thinking?’ will subside after some sleep.” It occurs to me that some of this priest’s parishioners will probably have voted Conservative and perhaps follow him on Twitter. I wonder how these sheep of his flock feel about how their shepherd feels about them?

We are all capable of writing (or even saying) something on the spur of an angry or disappointed moment that we might think better of later. That is human enough. We might also indulge in a bit of what the late Bernard Levin termed “moral vanity”: a lay Christian tweeted angrily that she felt nothing less than “grief” after the election on the grounds that “people will suffer and die because of this result”; and that “if voicing that concern (makes) Tory voters uncomfortable then perhaps they’ll reconsider their priorities next time”. Well, when that time comes, we won’t be able to say we weren’t told.

I am entirely happy to accept that there is a lot of ignorance, prejudice, perhaps even stupidity at work here. It may be that some instinctively left-wing Christians don’t understand what more conservative-minded ones believe about the best way to alleviate poverty and to protect the vulnerable (or indeed what other concerns or priorities may have influenced their votes at this election). It may be that they don’t care to enquire, comfortable in their own cherished attitudes and sense of righteousness. If so, that is rather sad; but it does, I suppose, reflect fairly accurately how wider society interrelates these days. But we are Christians, aren’t we? Surely it is not to be so among us?

  • David

    ” But we are Christians, aren’t we?” I am you are, but is someone who wants to ban people from communion really a Christian? I think they should spend more reading the Bible and less reading the Guardian.

    • Phil R

      “is someone who wants to ban people from communion really a Christian”

      You cannot think of a single situation where refusing communion (for a time) would be appropriate to allow for reflection?

      • David

        Sorry I should have said “is someone who wants to ban people from communion without asking them about why they have the views they have really a Christian”.
        I thought the church was meant to preach to the whole word not just the PC.

        • Phil R

          Which Church leader would have the most respect and authority?

          One that never bans anyone?

          Or one that leads?

          I know which Church I would want to attend.

          • David

            No one has said that the church should not ban anyone, rather that their should be justification and due process not some political knee jerk.
            The fact that they don’t mind people who voted for the party that deceived us and the Tories into supporting for the Iraq war is very strange.

          • Phil R

            When you join a Church you voluntarily put yourself (and your family) under its authority. That is why as a man I believe you should consider before attending any Church headed by a woman.

            I don’t think it is reasonable or sensible for the vicar to justify his every action to you.

            Lets put it another way. There are people who come and work for me and voluntarily put themselves under my authority for money. It is not reasonable for me to justify every action and there are times when my actions do not appear reasonable.

            You cannot run the a successful workplace as a democracy and you cannot run a successful Church justifying every action either.

            People who don’t want to work for me get another job. If you cannot submit to a Church as a man or your husband as a woman, you are not submitting to God and then you really need to ask the question if you are a Christian.

          • David

            So Vicars can do what they like without the congregation saying anything? Have an affair, ban tories from communion, murder people, preach that Mo was a prophet? (I am not saying all are the same).
            Wow I am glad that I am non conformist.

          • Phil R

            That is the reality pretty much. Vicars can do what they like provided they have the support of the congregation and Bishop.

            The thing is that liberal CofE churches are dying because nobody is willing to support them by committing themselves to worship there

            That is exactly as it should be

      • Merchantman

        The thing about Judgement is that it is The Lord’s prerogative. This vicar comes close to blasphemy by usurping His position. If this vicar would like to think on how many condemned men have been refused communion? Jesus accepted one of the men who died next to him at Calvary.

        • Phil R

          The thing about Judgement is that it is The Lord’s prerogative

          Agreed.

          So let God judge the vicar

          The alternative is a Church with no discipline. (It is what we have got used to, I agree!)

  • Nightblogger

    I think you should see comments about crowbars and banning from Communion as being at the same emotional level as the imprecatory bits of the Psalms. I’m sure that such responses would be repented of in the morning. I think Tory philosophies are just plain wrong, but I wouldn’t call many of the voters ‘evil’, especially the many who are my own parishioners. “All we like sheep have gone astray….”

    • ZX10

      Tory philosophies? and what do you see as Tory philosophies then ?

      • cypruspete

        Small government?
        Free market economics?
        Meritocracy?
        People taking individual responsibility for their own success?
        Fiscal responsibility in Government spending?
        Sensible limitations on Government funded services free at Point of Delivery to stop them becoming bottomless money pits?

    • Martin

      Nightblogger

      There’s nothing wrong with the imprecatory Psalms, they express the, entirely justified, feelings of the righteous against those who do evil. We have good grounds for calling down God’s wrath on such.

      And it is quite clear that discipline within the Church must be maintained, the failure to do this is the cause of much of the problems in the churches. If such discipline had been imposed there are not a few who would not be in positions of authority with in the CoE for example.

      Perhaps we should also remember that the natural man is evil.

  • Jings

    We need Christians in all political parties. Of course any thinking person is very unlikely to agree with every aspect of his party’s policies.

    • ZX10

      True but this isn’t about party policy’s it’s about emotion cowardice this man is playing to the lowest level of left-wing hate no plan, no facts ,just hate !

  • cypruspete

    Can you have a Marxist Christian? Whatever happened to “culling the living flower” and all that?

    • If you tread The Communist Manifesto (available as a free Kindle download) it becomes clear that Marxism and Christianity are incompatible.

      The question is, how much of Marx’s ideas’ however modified, qualified and ameliorated, can be accepted in a democratic socialist philosophy? Its messy.

  • Seadog

    Yes, chapter and verse please.

  • The Explorer

    Tories = radical evil.
    Fair enough, but does the equation work the other way round: doesn’t radical evil extend beyond Tories?
    Think Harold Shipman, Fred West, the Yorkshire Ripper, the Kray Twins. I don’t know the political views of any of them, but I can’t see that it was Tory priorities hat drove them.

  • Retired Paul

    This is not a new problem. Paul wrote to the Galations (among others) about those who want to impose their rules onto other Christians – Galations 6:11-16 highlights this, but the whole of the book is about whether you trust in Christ or the opinions of men for your salvation.

    Paul comes down very clearly on the side of Christ as the sole way to salvation.

    • Pubcrawler

      And we know what Giles Fraser thinks of Paul…

  • Martin

    Seems to me that for a Christian to be a member of any party that supports LGBT equality is involved with an organisation of a questionable nature. Indeed, I’d suggest that such a membership would be a matter for the elders, just as membership of the Samaritans is.

    The political parties have made it more and more difficult for Christians to be members, due to their policies, however, voting is quite different from being a member and voting should, in any case, be for the candidate, not the party.

    • magnolia

      Membership of the Samaritans? Non capisco.

      • Martin

        Magnolia

        The Samaritans forbid the preaching of the gospel, which is the only real solution to the problems of those they claim to serve. Such a ban is at odds with Christ’s command to preach the gospel and therefore it is not an organisation a Christian can join.

        • Again, this may be going too far. I work for the NHS diagnosing and treating skin cancer. I am not allowed by my employer to preach the Gospel at work. Should I resign over this and try to make a go as a private doctor?

          If people want Christian pastoral care hopefully they will find some if they seek.

          • Martin

            Stephen

            There is a considerable difference between a volunteer talking to those who are suicidal and your role. My understanding is that the NHS have only recently taken this stance and it is questionable whether they are entitled to ban a discussion on spiritual matters at work.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Tell me about Grace Darling and Florence Nightingale.

          • Martin

            SF

            What about Grace Darling and Florence Nightingale? I fail to see the relevance.

          • Shadrach Fire

            Christians in the health service who would never have failed to speak of Christ given the opportunity.

          • Martin

            Shadrach

            Neither of those were in the health service.

    • dannybhoy

      I’d say voting should be because you believe in the policies!
      The interesting bit is finding out how much the candidate believes in them…

      • Martin

        Danny

        It is only recently that the party has been added to the voting slip. You vote for the candidate, not the party.

  • john in cheshire

    I don’t believe it is possible to be a Christian and a socialist (of any persuasion). Socialism is an ideology in contradiction to all that Christianity stands for. However, it is possible to be a conservative and a Christian because conservatism isn’t an ideology in that it supports the individual as opposed to the collective.

    • I wouldn’t go that far, not all socialism is Marxist-Leninism. Pure Marxism is an evil creed that sets itself against God, country, family, tradition and reason-there is no such thing as a Christian Marxist.

      However there is good in the hearts and minds of many who self identify as socialists. Alas, people are so ignorant and easily led by emotive arguments that sweeping generalisations tend to be applied.

    • Phil R

      So Christianity means succeeding though your own efforts, self reliance, making it in this world through toil and hard work etc?

      If you are “successful” in this life, who is responsible for that success?

      Not you for sure.

      • dannybhoy

        All men have free will, gifts and abilities. Christians are obliged to use their talents in the service of God, the Church and the community.
        Socialism teaches “from each according to his ability to each according to his need”
        But because unrepentant man puts self first, there always has to be an element of coercion..

  • William Lewis

    Labour morality consists in borrowing more money to spend now that our children and unborn grandchildren will have to pay back.

  • CliveM

    Isn’t there something profoundly depressing about the response of the Left? The self regarding self righteousness? The moral arrogance? The violence? The lack of Graciousness in defeat? The bitterness and bile? Surely the Parable of the Sinner and the Pharisee spring to mind? They beat their chests proclaiming their sinlessness, parade their virtue and despise those who are not ‘like them’.

    I’ve known several good Christians of the Left. Who care deeply about the Country. But I have yet to see a Left wing Christian ever concede that those of us on the Right also have a unselfish concern for our Country.

    Btw YG, thanks for sorting the mobile version!

  • magnolia

    Personally I think that the vicar who posted in such violent, abusive and judgemental way should be hauled up in front of a Bishop or Archdeacon to explain himself, and then repent and do some reparation.

    The very next day after an election he should have been prepared, had the need arisen, to have spoken about conducting say a funeral service for a senior, Conservative figure in his parish, and commiserating with his/her notional friends and relations. And having spoken in such a way about crowbars and murder, and refusing communion, even if partly in jest, it would have rung very hollow indeed, even to the mere level of Conservative supporter.

    Given the high % of Conservative supporters in any area it is appallingly unprofessional.

    • dannybhoy

      “Personally I think that the vicar who posted in such a violent, abusive
      and judgemental way should be hauled up in front of a Bishop or
      Archdeacon to explain himself, and then repent and do some reparation.”

      Nonsense!
      He needs to be affirmed (that was a very brave thing to say), he needs stress counselling and lots and lots of hugs….!

      (That’s probably what he’ll get anyway).

      • Pubcrawler

        And perhaps some ‘compassionate leave’ to provide a period of ‘reflection’ (to include a mandatory bit of Common Purpose reprogramming).

        • dannybhoy

          You’ve heard about Common Purpose too eh?
          I was told about it by some UKIP people, but assumed it was a conspiracy theorist thing..

          • Pubcrawler

            Well, I’m not sure I go along with the whole ‘neurolinguistic programming’ and conspiracy theory thing, I haven’t looked into it enough; but it does seem to have a far bigger and more influential old boys network than Oxbridge!

          • dannybhoy

            Neurolinguistic??
            Never read that bit. I do have a link though that allegedly takes you into their history and goals
            http://www.stopcp.com/cpmindmap.php

            Evidently the programme aims to provide a subversive leadership system within a democratic society.
            Allegedly very similar to (if not connected) to a similar programme working within the US Democratic party, part funded by George Soros…

            Wise as serpents, harmless as doves…
            As Christians we know that our God reigns and whatever the plans of the evil one for this world, he is defeated and his time is coming to an end…
            Alleluia!

          • Uncle Brian

            I’ve never heard of Common Purpose. Am I missing anything?

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry Uncle Brian, but it’s on a need to know basis.
            (Whispers furtively)

            You’re not common enough!

          • Shadrach Fire

            Don’t be mean Danny. Tell him about the twisted socialist leaning quango that trains all sorts of Government personnel and inculcates a re-branding of the individual into a Social robot.

          • dannybhoy

            Further to Pubcrawler
            (though why it’s not coming up is beyond me..)

            Neurolinguistic??
            Never read that bit. I do have a link though that allegedly takes you into their history and goals
            http://www.stopcp.com/cpmindma

            Evidently the programme aims to provide a subversive leadership system within a democratic society.
            Allegedly
            very similar to (if not connected) to a similar programme working
            within the US Democratic party, part funded by George Soros…
            ‘The Shadow Party’

            Wise as serpents, harmless as doves…
            As Christians we know that our God reigns and whatever the plans of the evil one for this world, he is defeated and his time is coming to an end…
            Alleluia!

  • Leonard Payne

    I seem to recall the words of Bishop Ryle about elections. He said something like “If the party you vote for gets in, they will never be as good as you would like. If the opposing party gets in, they will never be as bad as you expect. There’s only one election you have to worry about – God’s election of you”

  • Well, its a very long time since I heard anyone describe the CofE as ‘The Conservative Party at prayer.’

    • Phil R

      People realise that most in the Tory party are neither conservative nor do they pray. A few may be one or the other, but very few both.

  • len

    If we Christians really believe that God can ‘work all things to His purpose’ then we have little to worry about in reality?.

  • saintmark

    I think that if my Pastor said he wanted to beat me to a pulp with a crowbar because I didn’t vote the same as him, I would consider looking for a different church(taking my filthy lucre with me)

    • CliveM

      If I sent an anonymous tweet saying something similar about work colleagues who had disagreed with me, if found out I would be sacked. The threat if violence, even if not meant seriously, is a sackable offence.

      • Uncle Brian

        I trust we may safely assume that the vicar of X has been sacked by now. The C of E surely can’t have sunk so low as to retain the services of a conceited oaf who is so full of shit that he can’t tolerate the idea of his parishioners having ideas that are in conflict with his own .

        • CliveM

          Sarcasm and irony, I like it!!

          He will probably be promoted to personal Chaplain.

          • Uncle Brian

            Personal chaplain to whom? Nobody I know, I hope.

          • CliveM

            To the Bishop who should be sacking him!!! Just giving a bit of jaundiced speculation, understanding the way a lot of Bishops seem to view these issues!

    • Uncle Brian

      Saintmark, what is there to “consider”? The vicar of X told the Tory voters among his parishioners, via twitter, that he would like to beat them with a crowbar. How many of them will be going back next Sunday to worship in his church? None at all would be my guess. Or possibly one or two who have had the presence of mind to dress up in their best Margaret Thatcher t-shirts.

  • carl jacobs

    The Left doesn’t argue with its opponents. The Left morally delegitimizes so it doesn’t have to argue. It constructs a moral universe using itself as a reference and then harshly judges according to that reference. It’s more inquisition than politics.

    • dannybhoy

      ” It constructs a moral universe using itself as a reference and then harshly judges according to that reference. It’s more inquisition than politics.”
      Inquistion…
      harshly judges..
      Moral universe..
      Inquistion…..
      What does that remind me of.. :0)

      • carl jacobs

        [snicker]
        Bad commenter! [chuckle] Bad! Bad! Bad! [chortle]
        😀

        • It may remind you of a time when Christian orthodoxy was common place and both clergy and laity followed the faith as passed down from the Apostles.

          Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was founded in 1542 to defend the church from heresy. It is the body responsible for teaching and defending Catholic doctrine.

          The congregation’s sole objective is to “spread sound Catholic doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines”.

          • carl jacobs

            a time when Christian orthodoxy was common place and both clergy and laity followed the faith as passed down from the Apostles.

            I thought you would refer to the time of Roman dominance instead.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    It is deplorable that a CofE priest should have to make these comments anonymously. Has the CofE become so vindictive that it’s own members can’t talk freely to each other?

    It just a few days ago that Archbishop Welby talked of Anglicans needing to show greater tolerance of each other. I wonder if he has any opinion on what we have been reading here? It is a long time since I darkened an Anglican church door. The idea that the clergy might be judging me more on my political views than on the state of my soul is very troubling indeed.

    I’d be inclined to say to any Christian who puts Christ before politics, that the Church of England is probably not the best place to be at the moment, tainted as it is with prejudice based on politics.

    • Uncle Brian

      It is deplorable that a CofE priest should have to make these comments anonymously.

      Yes, it is.

      Has the CofE become so vindictive that it’s own members can’t talk freely to each other?

      Yes, it has.

      It just a few days ago that Archbishop Welby talked of Anglicans needing to show greater tolerance of each other. I wonder if he has any opinion on what we have been reading here?

      I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • Dreadnaught

    I can happily say that I have no need to consider someone elses mystical beliefs or influence in how I cast my vote – its freedom of conscience, freedom of choice and freedom from the baying mob. Another reason why ‘I don’t do clubs’ either.

  • Sybaseguru

    In the pub on the evening of the election with others from our church I was challenged on this. The reply was simple:- Giving people jobs beats paying them benefits every single time. Is it just and fair to hand on to our children massive debts just because we want to spend more? The reply was very muted.

    • Pubcrawler

      I happened to come across the following in William Cobbett’s Rural Rides the other day:

      “Amongst the labouring people, the first thing you have to look after is, common honesty, speaking the truth and refraining from thieving; and to secure these, the labourer must have his belly full and be free from fear; and this belly full must come to him from out of his wages, and not from benevolence of any description.”

  • carl jacobs

    btw, one of the consequences of this harsh judgmentalism on the Left is that it makes discourse impossible. How can you possibly argue with someone who begins with the notion that you are evil? They have (intentionally) framed the debate such that your only options are to repent in mortification or withdraw in shame. This attitude means that the very concept of reasoned debate ceases to exist. The only nexus between the two groups is the exercise of power. At which point one of the cardinal assumptions of representative gov’t breaks down, and people start to wonder “Is it safe for me if my side loses this election?”

    In a religious context, this is also not just a little ironic since one of the main complaints of liberal religion is that conservative religion is so judgmental. As always, the fact of judgment is not the issue. It is the unspoken standard of judgment that is the issue. What is their authority? If you ask, you won’t get an answer because they themselves are their own authority. They just don’t want to admit it.

  • Darach Conneely

    Can you ban them from Communion?” The “all round nice bloke” replies: “Sadly not, praying that desire to beat them with a crowbar shouting ‘what were you thinking?’ will subside after some sleep.”

    Sounds to me like he is praying God will give him grace towards the people who voted for five more years of even more hunger and deprivation for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. ‘All round nice blokes’ tend to assume the best in others, that they are fundamentally decent and kind. It is pretty horrifying to realise so many Christians voted for vindictive cruelty to the unemployed and disabled. It takes time for God’s grace to melt through the shock and anger.

    • carl jacobs

      Case in point…

      • CliveM

        It’s always heartening to have a point proved so quickly.

      • William Lewis

        Is Darach on Avi’s payroll as well?

        • carl jacobs

          I think we are all on the “payroll” one way or another. The Nefarious International Jewish Conspiracy to Dominate the World has a broad and terrifying reach. I believe Avi’s section is called the Semitic Plot to Establish Control on the Terrestial Regions of Earth.

          Which explains the white cat.

          • Phil R

            Irony again Carl?

            Careful, you might start to find even Monty Python funny.

          • William Lewis

            Good diversion Phil. Carl let too many cats out of the bag with that last comment.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t want to go in the cart.

          • CliveM

            If so, I’m underpaid……….,

          • Pubcrawler

            Ditto.

          • CliveM

            Let’s strike?

          • Pubcrawler

            I would if I knew what it is he’s paying me to do.

          • CliveM

            Ahhhhh………..?

            Good point.

          • Uncle Brian

            It took me all this time to puzzle it out. Good one Carl! Now I can give you an upvote.

          • William Lewis

            Does Blowers know about this? Or is he just a front with puppet master Avi pulling all the strings? This just gets deeper and deeper.

          • carl jacobs

            Blowers is a deep plant. His job is to recruit his fronds.

          • CliveM

            Has anyone actually met Blowers? If so has anyone seen him and Avi together?

          • Uncle Brian

            No … but I’ve seen Blofeld posting comments in Hebrew and Avi replying that he didn’t know enough Hebrew to be able to read it … What do you make of that?!

          • William Lewis

            You don’t think that Avi is a criminal master mind and Blowers is a Canadian truck driver from Toronto do you? It would explain the sciatica.

          • avi barzel

            Idle gossip. Mr Blofeld and I merely keep a time share condo on the Riviera. I arrive by crashing through his
            rose bushes in my Volvo 780 when it’s my turn; he gets me back by traumatizing my golfish in the garden pond when he bobs up on his rusty old minisub. All the commentary above and below is speculative and potentially actionable.

          • CliveM

            A ruse.

          • Anton

            The sooner they dominate the Middle East, the better. Guess which is the one country in the region where freedom of worship is guaranteed both in principle and practice for Christians.

          • avi barzel

            Isn’t “terrestrial regions of earth” a bit reduntant? Like, what else would they be? Another example of you trying to stiff me with a padded word-count. And I won’t fall for the white cat mystery thing.

          • Uncle Brian

            It’s the acronym, Avi. Look at the initials. And Carl has even gone to the trouble of spelling it in British English.

          • avi barzel

            By Jove! What a clever fellow he is. Glad to see he’s finally learning how to spell things in a civilized way. Must send him a jar of my specially aged pickled herring.

        • avi barzel

          Possibly. You think I can remember everyone? And I got folders flowing from my desk onto the floor, about to spill out onto the hallway. And everyone is still on my Rolodex which is buried under something. Anyway, I don’t notice the hired help until their third or fourth begging invoice.

          • Albert

            This post has left me chuckling for some considerable time.

          • William Lewis

            There’s your problem right there, Avi. You can’t do world domination without some minions. Just one or two to help with filing would be a start.

    • John O’Connor

      Darach, that statement is surely a denial of Romans 8:28.
      And anyway, why as a Christian do you put so much hope and store in a particular form of government when god has already placed you in situ as one of his agents.

      Please at least do us the dignity of allowing that we may just as much care for the poor while at the same time have a radically different political viewpoint on how to achieve that.

      • Darach Conneely

        Hi John how are you keeping?

        Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? If you are a Christian, no matter what natural disaster or attack by evil people, God promises to work it out for the good. It is not saying we should bring trials and disasters on people so God can bring good of it for them. How does that work out for all the vulnerable people who ended their lives when their benefits were stopped? Probably a lot of non Christians among them too, with no promise of Tory cuts and hunger being worked out for good. An awful lot of non Christians are hit by welfare cuts. Doesn’t God care how we treat them too? God does. Matt 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
        Matt 22:39 Love you neighbour as yourself…
        Matt 7:12
        Do to others…

        I don’t think the bible ever recommends mistreating fellow believers to give God an opportunity to work it for good. 1John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

        I am pretty sure most people voting Tory were quite sincere, Not so sure they were voting from care and compassion though. Maybe an abstract ‘for their own good’, but it would be difficult if not impossible to inflict so much misery and suffering on so many people while feeling compassion and care. More than ½ million children and 3½ million adults are going without enough to eat, with numbers only going to grow with more cutbacks. How is it possible to be caring when you sentence children to suffering hunger, unable to concentrate in school? How is it caring for the disabled to have their income cut by bedroom tax when they were barely able to live on what they had? Is it caring to vote for more sanctions targeting people with mental health problems, who struggle to cope with life as it is, finding all the money they have to live on stopped for months on end?

        You may sincerely believe this is the best political solution, but you cannot do it with a heart of care and compassion. Maybe you really believe the idea of the American right that if we make enough poor people hungry and given the money in tax cuts to the rich, the rich will finally start trickling down their wealth and create more jobs. But it is hard to sacrifice real children going hungry to political ideology while genuinely caring for them.

        Some genuinely bought into Tory judgementalism, blaming the unemployed for for the lack of jobs, that if we just punish the poor enough, they will all find jobs when there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around. Then again judgementalism isn’t really compassion. That sort of ‘tough love’ that punishes adults and children, the disabled and people with mental health problems, you need you compassion and empathy switched of for. You have to have your heart harden to their suffering to carry it out, even if you really think it is for their own good. But as I pointed out in my blog, https://simianinthetemple.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/listening-to-right-wing-media-and-politicians-can-turn-you-psychopathic/ if you listen to enough Tory rhetoric that calls the poor ‘scroungers’ ‘shirkers’ and ‘benefit cheats’ your empathy gets switched off.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      “more years of even more hunger”

      Have you seen the size of British people lately? When did you last see a British family gaunt and emaciated through austerity?

      • Darach Conneely

        I remember as a child asking how Biafran children were starving when their tummies were so big. Cheap processed food is high in calories but low in nutrition. Overweight does not mean eating well.
        DEFRA statistics https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423616/foodpocketbook-2014report-23apr15.pdf show that the poorest 10% of the population are consuming only 1803 Calories/ person/day down from 1944 Cal before the crash. The NHS recommends 2250 Calories. If you see some people who are loading up on cheap empty calories, that means there are others who are eating even less to give an average 1803 Cal.

        Teacher are reporting children coming to school hungry and unable to concentrate. A cross part Parliamentary inquiry warns us that “hunger stalks the land” and that over half a million children and over three and a half million adults aren’t eating properly. But that’s ok because other people are overweight.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Children such as those starving in Biafra were mostly suffering from a protein deficiency condition called Kwashiorkor, which amongst other things causes oedema of the abdomen. That’s water in the tummy, not fat.
          I agree that many families in Britain don’t eat properly, but that is more to do with an addiction to foods high in fat, salt, and sugar than because they haven’t got the means to eat anything better. Our benefits system is generous, hence we are the choice of destination for many migrants. However, ignorance about the importance of diet is rife in this country. A lot of the nations dietary harm stems from bad eating habits, not poverty.

          • John O’Connor

            Daragh makes a very good point about children coming to school hungry and my wife as a classroom assistant would fully agree.

            I don’t think additional benefits would solve all of these cases as many of them appear to be from neglect at home. However, perish any political party to push for stable family relationships as a possible solution to this.

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Parental neglect? Quite likely. I hope he isn’t going to blame the Tories for that too.

          • CliveM

            Blaming the Tories is an article of faith.

          • Uncle Brian

            Yes, but don’t forget the Zionists as well.

          • CliveM

            But they are to blame???????

          • Uncle Brian

            Aren’t they always?

          • avi barzel

            Always. Simplifies things.

          • IanCad

            And the Bilderbergers, and the CFR. Oops! Of Course! The Zionists run both of them.

          • Anton

            Ken Clarke abolishing the married tax allowance didn’t help the institution of the family, but then he’s not really Tory…

          • Uncle Brian

            That’s water in the tummy, not fat.
            Also intestinal worms. Not all that long ago, here in Brazil, you could see the same thing in children from poor rural areas or from the urban shantytowns, in both cases because the families had no access to decent medical attention. Nowadays it’s different. In the third world and the first world alike, when you see obese children, it’s not worms, it’s because their parents were too ignorant or too lazy to feed them decent food.

          • avi barzel

            Didn’t see your post! Glad to meet another rationalist in this age of fashionable gobledeygook.

          • Darach Conneely

            I thought immigrants came here to steal our jobs?

            If 4 million children and adults in the UK are going hungry, the benefits system isn’t generous.

        • Uncle Brian

          For the mistake you freely confess to at the time of the Biafra war in the early seventies, you have the excuse that you were a child at the time (1 Cor. 13.11). But that was forty years ago, so why are you still drivelling like a child? Today’s victims of the obesity epidemic have nobody to blame but themselves. Are you so stupid that you believe in your own garbled statistics? Give us a break.

        • avi barzel

          This isn’t an issue of ” cheap processed food.” Cheap food is preferable to expensive food and processing does not, in and of itself, degrade quality. In fact, processing can improve nutritional values (e.g., retention of vitamins through canning) and significantly reduce spoilage, which along with poor transportation is the chief driver of food scarcities. The swollen bellies of the Biafran kids were the visible edema symptons of kwashiorkor, a disease brought on by simple malnutrition, specifically lack of proteins and vitamin B12, not a lack of expensive and unnecessary fair trade, locavore “organic” stuff. A quick fix is dietary supplements…i.e., a diet with some animal proteins, even from dry milk and vitamin-rich foods.

          The longer fix entails allowing Africa to develop its energy sources, especially its abundant coal reserves, to effectively fight malaria with DDT and to utilize without penalties tailored GM produce…such as the maligned and hobbled life-saving Yellow Rice…would work better than moaning and self-flagellation by the West while pushing genocidal pseudoscience such as “climate change” panic, DDT demonization and inexplicable GM terrors.

          • IanCad

            How many millions did Rachel Carson kill?

          • avi barzel

            I believe it’s around 50 million in Africa alone since the early 70s. Most were young children. Must be a record for a fraudulent claim with falsified data…although, we’ve yet to see what the “global warming” scam harvest will bring.

          • Darach Conneely

            Yes I am aware of the reason for swollen bellies. My point was that the obesity is not a sign of poor people in the UK are eating well. Processing can preserve nutrition. But cheap processed food is often stuffed with fat, sugar and starch. The so called healthy options cut the amount of fat and up the sugar.

    • cypruspete

      Anyone on the current ‘draconian’ capped rate of 23,000 a year in benefits is only, I appreciate, in the top 1.25% of earners globally but still, you have to give them something to strive for, right?

      There is no-one in the UK, not one person, who truly understands the meaning of hunger and deprivation, in any meaningful global context.

      Appeals to the conscience of the nasty Tories, isn’t showing compassion to the desperate, it’s just trying to re-arrange the deckchairs on the sundeck

      • Darach Conneely

        ‘Top 1.25% of earners globally’ doesn’t make any difference if you live in a country where the cost of living, food, clothing, transport housing, is astronomically higher than Ghana. You realised the money that is capped is because housing benefits are going huge rents to private landlords since most of our Council housing has been sold off and not replaced. So unless the landlord graciously agrees to lower the rent, the tenants have to make up the difference from what little they had to live on before ,or get kicked out.

        • cypruspete

          You might think so, however when economists calculate the global earning league table they use something called an ‘adjusted dollar’ effectively the amount of local currency it would take to buy one dollars worth of goods in the US. Hence the average global wage [i.e. the point at which the same number of people who earn more than you globally is the same as the number of people who earn less] of around $11,000 p.a. even if that person is actually earning in real terms less than $2 a day [as a lot of people are]

          So it really does 🙂

          • Darach Conneely

            But they are not buying goods in the US, they are buying them in a street market in Dakar.

          • cypruspete

            Sorry I obviously didn’t explain that very well.

            If the price of an orange in the US is 50c and in the street market in Dakar 1 franc (about 1.7c) then, when considering global earnings, the ecomonists ‘claim’ that since you can buy the same goods for 50c in the US and 1 franc in Dakar, then the ‘exchange rate’ they use to calculate the dollar earnings of a guy in Dakar is $1 = 2 francs, even though the actual bank exchange rate is around $1= 60 francs.

            As I said before, it’s how they claim a guy (from Dakar?) is actually earning an average of $11,000 pa, even though he is actually physically taking home less than $2 / day or say $600 pa.

            Which is good for the western economists, because it makes it look like there is less of a wealth gap than there actually is, but bad for your argument, as it skews the figures the other way, making your benefit claimant actually much less wealthy looking against his fellow human being in Dakar on his meager 23,000 pa than he actually is in real terms

    • Darach, you should be applauding. This will all awaken the consciousness of the oppressed classes so long deadened by the cunning welfare state. Now truth will out. This will result in the long delayed revolution. It’s the historical equivalent of “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”

      Let the ruling classes tremble at the coming revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen and socialist vicars of all countries, unite! Go back to your parish and prepare for revolution.

    • *gasp*
      “Sounds to me like he is praying God will give him grace …. “
      He believes in God and in grace?

    • dannybhoy

      Darach, I know you mean well, but
      “Sounds to me like he is praying God will give him grace towards the
      people who voted for five more years of even more hunger and deprivation
      for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.”
      Do you realise how (Irish) lefty that sounds?
      For goodness sake!
      No one wants anyone to suffer. We want people to be housed, fed and receive medical care..
      It’s the paying for it that exercises our minds. The best and fairest way to achieve a fair and just society, not how we can ensure an endless stream of people on benefits.
      That part’s easy.

      • Darach Conneely

        .

        • dannybhoy

          “A fair and just society isn’t one that makes poor children go hungry.
          That just creates misery and stores up health problems for the NHS and
          disability benefits in the future to deal with.”
          At the risk of sounding like the Tory I once was, I’d say that these problems have been created in great part by a Welfare State which like Topsy has just growed and growed.
          Actively encouraged by Labour governments especially, because it encourages more people to vote Labour (similarly the growth in jobs in the public sector).

          The benefits system makes it so much harder to get back into paid work (been there done that). If you aren’t confident enough, or skilled enough or literate enough to move away to where the work is then you’re stuck.
          Add to that the EU freedom of movement laws and uncontrolled immigration as encouraged by your Labour buddies, and you end up with a system struggling to meet the needs of people legitimately or otherwise dependent on the State.
          Which means the taxpayer.
          So the whole focus has shifted away from job creation to benefit provision.

          • Darach Conneely

            I really don’t see the logic behind blaming welfare for people being unemployed. Unemployment soared when Thatcher decimated British industry and closed the mines. The rising welfare cost are because we haven’t enough jobs for everybody. Her breaking the power of the unions has meant employers are able to keep wages down, leaving not just the unemployed but working families depending on benefits. Effectively, these benefits are a subsidy to wealthy employers who aren’t paying their workers enough to live on.

            I disagree that the focus has shifted from job creation to benefit provision. Politicians are constantly going on about the jobs they have created and how unemployment fallen under their care. Unfortunately they are better at hiding the real unemployment levels than they are dealing with the problem (7.7 million unemployed and underemployed rather than the official figure of 1.8 million unemployed). As long there simply aren’t enough jobs for everyone and those who are working aren’t being paid a living wage, we are going to have millions of people in the UK depending on welfare.

            I agree that if you didn’t have welfare, you wouldn’t have waited for a job in your area rather than moving to where you saw jobs coming up. You’d probably have got a job that way, it would just mean that a fractionally less confidant and skilled local would remain with the long term unemployed. A lack of welfare would mean those who have just lost work, who have the money to travel, would get back in work faster. It would make no difference to overall unemployment (as long as the unemployed don’t start dying in droves of hunger and disease).

            Immigrants working and living in the UK increase the size of the economy. If they weren’t here we have a smaller population and a smaller economy with proportionally fewer jobs. In fact, we’d even fewer jobs to go around because all these immigrants who are ‘confident enough, or skilled enough or literate enough to move away to where the work is’ are really good job creators. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2573732/Migrants-set-one-seven-companies-UK-people-born-abroad-twice-likely-start-business.html

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t know if a consequence is the same as blaming. I think it’s a consequence. :0)
            ‘Her breaking the power of the unions has meant employers are able to keep wages down, leaving not just the unemployed but working families depending on benefits. Effectively, these benefits are a subsidy to
            wealthy employers who aren’t paying their workers enough to live on.’

            The first part of your sentence is illogical (stay off the poteen) as it was Margaret Thatcher who wanted people to have a stake in society and allowed the right to buy..
            Her main concern was to stop the union leaders who were rabidly left wing (your buddies again) from wrecking the economy..
            Now we could argue over whether it was the best tactic to use -and hindsight’s a wonderful thing; but she had to drag the British workforce kicking and screaming into the 20th century. Unions were out of control. We all know that.
            Orders weren’t being fulfilled on time, constant arbitration, constant demarcation disputes
            It was absolutely blinking pathetic, and it was those attitudes thast destroyed our motor manufacture and ship building, even our heavy industries.
            Take a look at Germany, even France if you don’t believe me. When was the last time Nissan had a strike here in the UK? Since the unions were forced to get real, it’s years ago.
            Politicians have only recently begun to seriously tackle the problem of unemployment.

            Now where I would agree with you is…
            “Effectively, these benefits are a subsidy to wealthy employers who aren’t paying their workers enough to live on.”
            But that’s only really happened since we got snared in the EU, and the EU is allowing hard working Poles and Liths etc to come across Europe working for less money and undercutting British workers who have family overheads like mortgages, council taxes, insurances etc to meet.
            Even then why would the Conservatives have started tackling benefit abuse if they were in league with the rich?
            (That’s your lefty bias showing again)
            That’s your Labour buddies for you, and Blair the archetypical champage socialist is now a multi millionaire!

          • Darach Conneely

            Unions did a lot of good, bringing us out of Victorian working conditions, what was needed was a better balance. Thatcher was never one for negotiation and equitable compromise. The troubles in Northern Ireland could have been over a decade earlier but Thatcher said “No, no, no” or rather “Out… out… out”.

            Breaking their power and giving it all to employers led to the growing gap we see today between rich and poor. Her wanting to make everyone nice little Tories owning their own houses doesn’t change the consequences of her shifting the balance of power from union to employers, with industries closing down and getting rid of load of staff. With the result that so many of the houses stakeholders bought ended up in the hands of wealthy private landlords.

            Are benefits being paid to families who can’t afford to live on the minimum wage or not? Don’t blame the EU. The government sets the minimum wage level and should deal with companies who are using criminal gang masters and exploiting migrant workers.

  • Owl

    I thought that was a very nice photo of what useful idiots look like.

    • IanCad

      “Useless idiots”

  • Abortion …. that’s okay;
    Divorce and remarriage ….. that’s okay;
    IVF and embryonic research …. that’s okay;
    Living together before marriage …. that’s okay;
    Women priestesses ….. that’s okay;
    Women bishopesses ….. that’s okay;
    Homosexual marriage ….. that’s okay;
    Openly homosexual clergy …. that’s okay;

    Voting Conservative or UKIP …. Jesus would disapprove.

    • carl jacobs

      Jack! You have made it! You have achieved enlightenment!

      • Jack met a lot of men with money today. Strangely, they looked stunned as they led their camels around.

    • Just off out to mediate by a flowing stream, hug a tree and become one with the Oneness, Carl.

      • CliveM

        Mediate?

        • magnolia

          Between the fishermen and the dogwalkers? Be careful!

        • William Lewis

          He means arbitration which means tree hugging, from the Latin arbor (tree).

          • CliveM

            Really!

          • William Lewis

            It’s a common mistake. Surprised you haven’t seen it before.

          • Uncle Brian

            I hope you haven’t copyrighted that because I intend to plagiarise it on other websites.

          • William Lewis

            Be my guest. Happy to help.

          • Please do not volunteer Jack without first asking.

          • William Lewis

            I thought that grapefruit Jack was always Happy to help. It’s that stroppy blueberry that seems to have some, err, issues.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrrrrr ………

          • William Lewis

            Yes. That’s the fella.

          • Leave the poor chap alone. What with Carl, Avi and Blowers on his case he will never reform.

        • Indeed – it was not a typing mistake … no, no, and thrice no.
          Someone has to find the ‘middle way’ through all this.

          • William Lewis

            The ‘middle way’ between the flowing stream and the tree is usually the towpath.

          • Not enough room …. the path has been blocked with too many fat overweight people hugging trees. Plus, there’s a lot of chanting going on by the side of the stream. Hardly room to take out one’s prayer mat.

          • William Lewis

            How’s a fella to get in touch with his inner Jack, then?

          • Too many of them, William. They need to form a disorderly queue.

          • Uncle Brian

            You’re on fine form today, Jack. The election result has done you good. I think you are either in, or very close to, the one Scottish consituency that returned the Conservative candidate. Am I right or am I right?
            What happened to Jack’s New Year (or New Parliament) resolution to drop the third-person stuff? Can he still not quite bring himself to utter the word “I”?

          • avi barzel

            He used “I” in a response yesterday and crossed it out. Did not edit and delete, but crossed out. Very significant. I think he needs our kind encouragement and moral support to shuffle out of his third person closet.

          • ” I ” and ” I “, Avi.

          • Lol ….

            Jack voted UKIP at the very last moment and thankfully it had no material effect on keeping the SNP candidate out of Westminster.

            As for ‘Jack’, one has grown rather fond of him over the last year. Less prone to reckless comments. Besides, Happy Jack’s third person communication irritates the hell out of the oh so serious and intellectual scholarly bloggers on another site he visits. Now I (or he) would tell them to feck off. Jack, (or he) on the other hand, is not bothered by their insults.

          • Uncle Brian

            Good for you, Jack. Or should I say good for him.

          • Him in this instance …

          • dannybhoy

            fat people hugging thin trees.
            That works..

          • Politically__Incorrect

            Middle Way? Isn’t that what the LibDems were always looking for Jack? They found to their cost that in the middle of the highway there lies a peril: the crash barrier

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Don’t forget the Universal Consciousness

        • I and I is part of it …. Jack thinks.

      • Grouchy Jack

        Probably writes for Guardian.

    • Albert

      You missed:

      Not believing in the virgin birth….that’s okay
      Not believing in Jesus as the only saviour….that’s okay
      Not believing in the resurrection….that’s okay
      Not believing in a realist God….that’s okay

      • Not forgetting:

        Not believing in Hell …. that’s okay

    • Phil R
      • avi barzel

        A charming lady, concerned and open to all views. Women in religious leadership positions, we are being told, will soften the harsh, male-dominated, locker room culture. Exhibit “A.”

        • Uncle Brian

          The good news is that we needn’t expect to be encumbered with women priests in the Romish Popish Papist Church of Rome at least as long as the Petrine succession remains in Argentine hands.

          The bad news is that Reinhard Marx is being touted as our next Supreme Pontiff.

          • avi barzel

            Perhaps so, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Falklanders woke up to discover that they are now inhabitants of the Malvinas and that Stanley is now sister city to “East Jerusalem” in the newly decreed state of “Palestine.”

          • Uncle Brian

            You allude, no doubt, to the recent diplomatic foolishness in which Papa Bergoglio allowed himself to walk into an obvious trap. I remain confident, however, that he is too smart to make the same mistake in the case of The Islands, not least because he has witnessed the self-inflicted sufferings of his fellow Argentines, too many of whom are still taken in by the myth of so-called “sovereignty”, now once again being trundled out by yet another criminally inept tenant of the Casa Rosada, as her excuse for a further ten or twenty years of misrule.

          • avi barzel

            Yes, that’s what I was alluding to. The Palis are ecstatic, but Arutz Sheva seems indifferent. Perhaps the Palis will become Catholic out of gratitude…there’s more of you guys than of us, so you should have an easier time with them. Besides, they are not next door to St Peter’s. Yet.

          • Uncle Brian

            Besides, they are not next door to St Peter’s. Yet.

            Maybe not yet, Avi, but the cardinals can’t have long to wait for that pleasure. It is now ten years or more since Oriana
            Fallaci complained that the Florence police looked the other way when Muslim immigrants engaged in long-distance pissing aimed at the centuries-old marble façade of the Romanesque Battistero, across the square from the Cathedral.

            http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/06/05/the-agitator

          • IanCad

            Avi, all it will take is for the Argies to visit a British building site and they would conclude that they can take back The Falklands any day they choose.

          • avi barzel

            They can claim all of Africa and Australia too. Weren’t
            they also on the same continental plate as South America recently? Like only 300 million years or so?

          • sarky

            Careful, you do know the earth is only 6,000 years old.

          • Anton

            God created it in six YOM, a word which has exactly the same ambiguity as its English translation “day”, in that it can also mean “era”. It can only mean “era” in Job 15:23 & 18:20, for instance.

          • avi barzel

            Good point. Also, Medieval Jewish sages treated the word to mean “categories” as per tradition. This tradition has been to treat descriptions of Creation and God and His attributes as non-literal. I stretch this to conclude that just as it’s prohibited to understand “descriptions” of God’s body parts and emotions literally, and debate over presumed appearances and sizes, it may be just as heretical to take alliterations to time literally and make calculations over them as well…which would put my literalist friends insinsing on someone’s 6000 year calculation in a pickle. But then, I’m not a rabbi or much of a theologian.

          • Anton

            A tradition about what a word means in a text only has value if it runs uninterrupted back to the time the text was written.

            As for “literally”, it is tautologous in a written ie literary account; most fundamentalists use “literally true” to mean “materially true”. Once the dialogue has got to that point, intelligent questions can be asked. And I should add that I am evangelical and do not regard the early parts of Genesis as a “true myth”.

            The usual fundamentalist response to “YOM = era” is “What about the phrase “and there was evening and there was morning” attached to each YOM in Genesis 1?” I learned the answer to that from a Jewish scientist who understood Hebrew too; but after you, Avi !

          • avi barzel

            Ha! A competition without the possibility of a decisive adjudication!

            Probably several rational possibilities here, but one would be that since the Sun and the Moon were created on the fourth “day,” the “evening” and “morning” are also allegorical, and perhaps the purpose of the passage was to drive the point home to us that the story of Creation should not be read in in the simple, literal/materially-true way. In his somewhat elitist approach, Maimonides insisted that the description of Creation in Genesis is an allegory meant to satisfy ordinary men, and I’ll dare to add that this is also a hint to the scholar, scientist and philosopher that there is much more to the mystery to be uncovered by our God-given faculties.

          • Anton

            From The science of God by Gerald Schroeder, a Jew and like me a research physicist, I learned that “there was evening and there was morning – day two” (Genesis 1:8, and similarly for the other days) can equally well be translated from the original Hebrew consonants as “there was a disordered mixture and there was control – the second era.” Each YOM shows a transition from darkness to light due to God’s ordering work, His removing of the chaos spoken of in “and the earth was without form”.

          • avi barzel

            I’m impressed. You gents are certainly ahead of me. An attractive argument; there was chaos and there was order…or imposition of Natural Law, if you will.

            That Dr Schroeder did not have his book banned as happened to Rabbi Slifkin who did not even go as far as to offer a new interpretation of the words is one of those fortunate (for Dr Schroeder, not R’Slifkin) political flukes. More likely a case where because Schroeder’s work was a work by a “secular,” a scientist, rather than an ordained, mainstream Orthodox rabbi, it was either not a threat to the Hareidi establishment, or, more likely, no one bothered to read the book!

          • Anton

            At the time he wrote his book Schroeder was at the Weizmann Institute. I don’t read Hebrew; do you agree with what he says?

            If you do read his book, I don’t agree with the fine details of the length in clock-time of the six YOM that he proposes, and unlike him I think they overlap slightly; but I had a great correspondence with him that we both learned from.

          • avi barzel

            I’m certainly interested in reading the book, but my Hebrew is insufficient for a critique like that. Offhand, his interpretation, regardless of how he arrived at it or how plausible it is, does not clash with the description of God as the Creator of order from chaos (too Greek, perhaps “void” would be better) or of some of the Sages, including Maimonides who saw the “days” as creative segments. Like you, I’m leery of calculations, mostly because I don’t think the Torah provides data for such (its objectives are instruction and ethics) and it can falsely lead us to see patterns and look for “Bible codes.” Occam’s razor would support the notion that the Torah’s hints suggests that we need to study the world and its natural laws according to our ability and with the tools we can devise now and in the future, rather than in over-analyzing scripture.

          • Dude,

            From what I understand from Hannah is that scientists us
            ed to say the universe had always been in existence , the steady state theory: it was a profound difficulty before proof was given that said the universe had an apparent beginning. There was some well known prof at Cambridge who held this view apparently. Astrophysics is such a fantastic subject. Alas I’m a humbled student of the arts .

          • Pubcrawler

            “some well known prof at Cambridge”

            That’ll be Fred Hoyle, who coined the term ‘Big Bang’.

          • avi barzel

            I expect anyone dissenting from standard dating (established by at least a dozen of concurring measurment methods) to apply the time compression algorithms or time systems of their choice. In the end, the dating debate is inconsequential to most practical areas of life, especially since all time frames of reference are relative to such things like speed and gravitational forces.

          • Albert

            What’s wrong with Cardinal Marx? (This is an honest question, I don’t really follow these things.)

          • Uncle Brian

            Briefly, the German hierarchy is split between a (larger) Kasperite wing and a (smaller) Müllerite wing, and the larger of the two is said to be very confident of winning the next election.

          • IanCad

            UB, Archbishop Jose H Gomez hasn’t got his red hat yet, but if he does then he could be the one to watch.
            Just about time for an American pope.

          • Pubcrawler

            I believe it’s possible, though highly unusual, to be elected to the See of Rome without first getting the red hat.

          • IanCad

            PC, I see that you are correct. RC and male – that’s it.
            Some good candidates right here on this blog!

          • Uncle Brian

            Ian, quite right, a baptised male Catholic: those are the only qualifications needed, on paper. The unwritten rules, though, are a bit stricter than that.

          • Albert

            Can’t be married!

          • IanCad

            Then St. Peter couldn’t possibly have been the first pope.
            As we Protestants say.

          • Albert

            The Pope is the successor of Peter, and therefore technically Peter was not the first Pope! But I doubt that will satisfy you. I think a more accurate way to express the issue would have been to say “St Peter couldn’t possibly have been the first pope under these rules.”

          • He was married before Jesus called him.

          • Pubcrawler

            Male and, er, ‘complete’, I think. Ordination could probably be fast-tracked, too, for the right candidate.

            (I’ve never been called PC in my life.)

          • IanCad

            Then “Pubcrawler” it will be from now on.
            I didn’t get the connection. My apologies.

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m not one to take offence, not being PC. (‘Sir’ will be fine 🙂 )

          • Albert

            Thanks. So Marx is a Kasperite then?

          • Uncle Brian

            Jawohl. Or so people are deducing from his recent quip about the German hierarchy not being “a subsidiary of Rome”. (I’m paraphrasing here, from memory, I’ll google for it in a few minutes.)

          • Albert

            Thank you. That’s a useful article. Here’s the money quote:

            “We are not just a subsidiary of Rome,” Cardinal Marx said. “Each episcopal conference is responsible for the pastoral care in their culture and has to proclaim the Gospel in its own unique way. We cannot wait until a synod states something, as we have to carry out marriage and family ministry here.”

            Actually, Your Eminence, if you are talking about doing something contrary to Canon Law or Church doctrine, you have to wait until a synod (or a pope) allows it.

            I agree, I don’t think such a man would be good for the Church. I’m interested in the suggestion that the Kasperites are certain of winning. What’s that quotation about the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans? Anyway, liberalism in Christianity is a spent force.

          • Wasn’t kasper a ghost ?

          • Uncle Brian

            Yes, but he came back to haunt us.

      • Albert

        What an appalling sermon. I haven’t read it all but somehow this struck me:

        When a woman finds that the fetus she is carrying has anomalies incompatible with life, that it will not live and that she requires an abortion – often a late-term abortion – to protect her life, her health, or her fertility, it is the shattering of her hopes and dreams for that pregnancy that is the tragedy; the abortion is a blessing.

        When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

        And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

        These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

        • William Lewis

          Chilling

          • Uncle Brian

            You said it, William. Chilling is the word.

          • CliveM

            Unbelievable, a complete moral perversion, couched in Christian language.
            This women knew it was going to offend and has decided to rub her opponents face in it.
            Deliberate and provocative.

          • This “earth creature” is something of a hero on the feminist left too.

        • Uncle Brian

          Good grief. I haven’t followed Phil’s link but is this yer actual C of E vicar preaching an alleged sermon?

          • Albert

            An American Anglican clergy person preaching a sermon

          • An American Anglican clergy earth creature, Albert.

      • IanCad

        Dear Lord. Come soon!

      • Anton

        Has she had an abortion herself?

        • Albert

          Unlikely. She’s a lesbian.

          • Darter Noster

            How does that stop her these days…?

        • Pubcrawler

          She should be glad her mother didn’t.

          • These chilling words of Jesus give us all cause to pause:

            “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

            Better to die before birth and trust in the mercy of God, than to grievously offend Him in this life and to end in despair without seeking repentance and forgiveness.

          • Pubcrawler

            Good point.

      • Darter Noster

        And people wonder why I couldn’t get out of Anglicanism quick enough…

    • dannybhoy

      Jesus would not vote anyway HJ. Kings don’t vote, they decree.
      All the time our Lord tarries we His people have to continue being salt and light in our society, and that includes voting..

      • alternative_perspective

        Nice reply

    • Shadrach Fire

      Nearly 95% of Labour and Liberal Democrats voted for SSM. More Conservatives than not voted against it.
      There is not a single party that one can consider OK to vote for in relation to morality and integrity.

      • Jack posted these comments yesterday from one blogger (Mr M) who expressed “boundless enthusiasm” for the election results and offers some reassuring comments about the future.

        Firstly, “because a party which was the most vocal proponent of so-called same sex marriage has received the Giant Dildo Treatment before their almost annihilation.”

        Ouch … harsh.

        Second, and this is a significant observation, “because David “Chameleon” Cameron will now be forced to fake Conservatism with more enthusiasm. Again, I do not expect a resurgence of Christian values, but I think that things are slowly moving in the right
        direction. Cameron isn’t dumb. He knows he is now far less in control than he used to be, and can’t use the LibDems as an excuse. He also knows that the knives meant for his back are, in purest Tory tradition, always sharp. He may be happy he is still in power, but he knows a PM is as strong as his charisma and following, and he clearly lacks both. The demise of the LibDems deprives him of one leg. He won’t feel comfortable surrounded by an all-Tory team.”

        Third, and this will please the Inspector, “because the only halfway sane party in the Country, the UKIP, has garnered almost four million votes and is now very officially the third biggest party by number of voters. A development, this, that will send very cold shivers down the spine of many newly-elected Tory MPs, and will further contribute to a slow return to something vaguely resembling sanity. The UKIP only got one MP, I know; but I am one of those who think that the cruel first-past-the-post system in use in the UK forces MPs to think of their possible demise at the next election all the time. Ask Ed (cut) Balls if you don’t believe me.”

        So, hopeful signs.

        Bring on 2020 ….

        • Shadrach Fire

          Do we have to wait that long? I don’t know if there enough Tory MP’s with integrity, but they need a new ‘2015 committee’ (1922) but without the imposed rite of the PM to attend. Because of his small majority they could use leverage to ensure Cameron does not pull another fast on the voters.

        • Dude

          My sister has noted that the current parliament has a record number of gays and lesbians…. I shall leave you to celebrate his fact with a bottle of fire and Hannah’s hugs from Israel.

    • sarky

      What’s your problem with IVF?? Honest question.

      • carl jacobs

        There are two issues.

        The first is that IVF often produces more children than it implants. There is a probabilistic nature to its implementation thatxrests upon the same foundation as abortion. The second problem is that it can become a mechanism for disconnecting children from natural family formation. A woman no longer had to bother with a husband. She can go to the sperm bank and puck out something akin to a designer child. From that perspective it is a means by which adult vanity may be indulged at the expense of the children produced. Adults are responsible to create and sustain the necessary relationship for raising children. That means a Mom and a Dad. It does not mean two moms. It does not mean two dads. And it certainly doesn’t include a 40 year old single woman whose biological clock is expiring. Children aren’t a means to achieve personal life fulfilment. They are a stewardship. If you are too selfish to do it right, then you shouldn’t do it at all.

        • sarky

          So a close family member and her husband who endured years of heartache trying to conceive naturally, then had the absolute joy of a daughter conceived through IVF, were wrong were they?

          • That’s just emotionalism, Sarky. Read Jack’s comments above.

          • Anton

            I for one am glad for them.

          • sarky

            Thank you 🙂

          • Jack would certainly celebrate new life and wish the parents well with their daughter. The Christian Churches, including the Catholic Church, have all failed abysmally to teach the intrinsic moral evils of IVF.

          • sarky

            And we have failed to teach the intrinsic moral evil of the Catholic church. (Although thankfully that is changing)

          • … and this “intrinsic evil” consists of what, Sarky?

          • Phil R

            They were willing to kill to get something that they wanted.

            It weakens morality

            You say it doesn’t matter…….

            Until one day someone is willing to kill you or someone close to you because they want something that you have.

          • sarky

            Phil, once again you’re talking absolute crap and I assume coming from a position of no personal experience.
            How can you equate IVF to murder?

          • Anton

            He’s doing that because of what happens to the other fertilised eggs. I don’t think that the destruction of a few cells can be equated to the killing of a human being with differentiated body parts.

          • Phil R

            So when do the few cells become life then Anton?

            When you decide it is…

            Of course…Why should it be otherwise?

          • Anton

            Kindly stop putting your words in my mouth and then criticising them. Please read what I actually wrote – which was a definite suggestion (cell differentiation) and one I am happy to discuss in good faith.

            Here’s a question for you: Do you consider the deliberate discarding of a single fertilised ovum to be an act of evil equal to murder? If you reply, please include a clear Yes or No.

          • Phil R

            Yes in the context we are talking about.

            But as you say, perhaps we should not care. after all it is only an ovum, — only a Jew.

          • Anton

            Thank you for a clear reply.

            Why, please, do you consider the deliberate discarding of a single fertilised ovum to be an act of evil equal to murder?

          • Phil R

            I refer you to Carl’s response below.

            Lets just rephrase your sentence though and see if you are happy with it now.

            Why, please, do you consider the deliberate discarding of a single member of a clearly inferior race to be an act of evil equal to murder?

            Why, please, do you consider the deliberate discarding of a single female embryo to be an act of evil equal to murder?

            (Oops sorry, being potentially female, we have already decided is in the UK is a perfectly valid reason to kill.)

          • Anton

            You’re not rephrasing it but changing it. You said you did regard the deliberate discarding of a single fertilised ovum to be an act of evil equal to murder, so I asked why. Instead of answering the question you have started playing rhetorical tricks by changing the question and asking it me back.

            I’d actually answer you if the question you put to me were not predicated on a statement with which I disagree, but that is why I will not. Whereas it seems that you cannot.

          • Phil R

            So let us be clear.

            The taking of a life is murder.

            You rationalise it by saying that in the case of IVF, it is not life, or if it is, it is human life of less value.

            No difference to the rationale that leads to Bergen Belsen, or the killing of baby girls.

            The rationale suits the purpose in other words and so you legitimise evil by deciding yourself that certain human life has less value.

            “only a Jew”

          • Anton

            “No difference to the rationale that leads to Bergen Belsen, or the killing of baby girls.”

            There’s your false analogy.

          • Phil R

            How convenient…

          • Anton

            Please see my comments on this thread about ensoulment as probably being the assumption you are making.

          • Phil R

            We now move on to rationalise what you want to do by claiming something you cannot possible know.

            How many straws remain to hold on to?

          • Anton

            So why do you presume that the discarding of a single fertilised ovum is morally as evil as plunging a knife into somebody’s back? Is the ovum sentient? Can it feel pain?

            My guess is that you are supposing – perhaps without realising it – that a “human spirit” is infused into the fertilised ovum at “conception” (although that is itself a process rather than an instant). I believe in contrast that the spirit grows with the body and that the spirituality associated with a single cell is negligible. But do tell me in your own words. And, if you want a discussion in good faith – as I do – please cut out the insults.

          • Phil R

            “So why do you presume that the discarding of a single fertilised ovum is
            morally as evil as plunging a knife into somebody’s back? Is the ovum
            sentient? Can it feel pain?”

            Are they both human?

            ” I believe in contrast that the spirit grows with the body and that the spirituality associated with a single cell is negligible”

            This is very convenient interpretation.

            However what does God say on this I wonder?

            Galatians 1:15 Jeremiah 1:5

            “please cut out the insults”.

            No insult intended.

            The illustrations simply emphasises where this can lead. I bet there were Lutheran Pastors in Celle, Bergen and Soltau, watching the camp fill up and rationalising it by preaching that the Jew and the Russian were not the same as them. Many spoke out we know, but we also know that many decided it was better to cooperate with the prevailing morality.

            But this is different you say. But God knew you before you were formed.

          • Anton

            Me: “I believe in contrast that the spirit grows with the body and that the spirituality associated with a single cell is negligible”

            You: “This is very convenient interpretation.”

            So prove me wrong. In particular, if you believe that a “fully formed” human spirit is slipped into a fertilised egg at the moment of conception then please provide evidence which differentiates between that view and mine; and define exactly what you mean by the “moment of conception” given that fertilisation is a process.

            Incidentally the latter view is more in tune with the ancient Greek mindset and the former more Hebraic.

            As for Jeremiah (1:5), “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you,” we have no memory of having known God in a disembodied state prior to our lives on earth, do we? So God presumably meant that He knew, from His plans, what Jeremiah’s personality would be, as a ship designer ‘knows’ a ship he has designed on his drawing board.

          • Phil R

            So the moment of conception is nothing special?

            The baby becomes human when? A second later? 6 months later? At Birth? After Baptism?

            When (if) it has acquired certain intellectual abilities?

            Does God leave it for us to decide so that we can then justify our choices to ourselves?

            I remember reading about a guy sent out by the UN to investigate the atrocities in Rwanda. After visiting 100s of mass graves he got to talk to (in his words) a beautiful 8 year old girl who had been hit with a machete but lay with the dead for two days. He said that as he was talking to this girl he realised that God had created this 8 year old girl unique and his purpose in creating her was that she would love him and get to live with him for ever.

            He also realised that God was not neutral and passive about the fact that people tried to kill her and had murdered 1000s of little girls like her. God is completely outraged.

            We should be outraged with him.

          • Anton

            “Does God leave it for us to decide so that we can then justify our choices to ourselves?”

            Perhaps you should ask yourself that question as you are pretty certain you know the answer. But how did you reach it? Please stop using arguments from emotionalism and show us your thought processes.

          • Phil R

            “Does God leave it for us to decide so that we can then justify our choices to ourselves?”

            OK I will make it plain.

            No he did not.

            Arguments from emotionalism?

            I am human Anton. Does it bother you that I share the anger the guy felt about the 8 year old girl? Can you sit there and moralise it away as a thing of no consequence to you or God?

            You want to know my thought process, well here goes. When you deliberately set out to create life only to destroy it when it doesn’t fit your plans makes you no better than those that sank their machetes into 800000 people in Rwanda. God condemns you just as surely as if you had killed enough to fill a mass grave yourself. God created this unique human life and you are willing to kill this potential baby or at least justify others doing so.

            One day you will stand before God justifying yourself and your action/inaction based on your lovely theory about when a baby gets a soul. ….Good luck…. I hope for your sake he does not respond “I never knew you”.

          • Anton

            You refuse to explain WHY you consider it murder on a par with knifing someone to discard a fertilised ovum. Are you frightened that your reasoning might be tested and found wanting? Until you do that and cease waving hell at me and using false analogies with 8-year-old girls I can’t really say more.

          • Phil R

            Another dawn and we are still at it it seems

            They both have equal value before God.

            Now culturally we have been conditioned to the view that babies in the womb up to a certain magic date determined by us are not human. When I lived in Africa, in the area I worked at least, women and especially children were considered less valuable by the culture then men. Old people had great status. Now this was a social construct because all human life has equal value before God.

            What you are doing is weakening this by deciding at a partiular point in time that human life has no value. If we agree with your presupposition then we are making the argument that we are free to decide for ourselves and on whatever convenient basis, what human life has value.

            Hence the comments about “only a Jew” and 8 year old girls hit with machetes.

          • Anton

            I do not agree that a fertilised human ovum and a man have equal value before God – although I think the notion of “value” is problematic in this context. Please clarify.

          • Phil R

            So when do the baby become human?

            After 1min? 1 day? 1 week? 20 weeks? 1 year?

            I have asked this before and got a diversion.

            You tell me then at what stage you think it is right with God to kill an unborn child.

          • Anton

            Tell the truth about me, for I didn’t divert and have proposed in this thread the onset of cell differentiation about 4 days after conception. I am open to discussion and had hoped for an intelligent debate about that. I’m still waiting.

          • Phil R

            “the onset of cell differentiation about 4 days”

            I say again how convenient.

            Day 3 not human (murder away, God is not bothered) day 4 (Everything changes!).

            Somewhere on this thread I posted about a vicar justifying an abortion under any circumstances. Essentially this is the same argument.

          • Anton

            It is a proposal and I welcome genuine discussion, which you seem unable to provide.

          • Phil R

            Genuine discussion?

            You want to continue to justify yourself.

            So please go ahead.

          • Anton

            “You want to continue to justify yourself.”

            When you stop claiming to know better than me what is in my mind; when you stop waving hell at me; when you consider the meaning of the image of God; when you stop pretending that my suggestion is something to which I am totally committed; when you look at the fact that a single cell does not have a nervous system or intelligence; when you ponder the relation between spirit and material in the growth of the human body: then we can have a constructive discussion.

          • Phil R

            “when you look at the fact that a single cell does not have a nervous
            system or intelligence; when you ponder the relation between spirit and
            material in the growth of the human body: then we can have a constructive discussion”

            If you have seen the film Luther. There is a poor young woman who carries her disabled daughter everywhere. The woman and the daughter have absolutely nothing the world values and the little they have is terribly exploited by the church. What is great about the film is that (to me anyway) there is no doubt that the woman and the daughter despite knowing nothing about the Bible, love God with all their hearts.

            Does God love them, are they saved? Absolutely

            They could not give you your “intelligent discussion” as theirs is a simple faith.

            Like mine.

          • Anton

            Love God with all of your heart and all of your mind. However little or much mind or heart you have, we can agree about that.

          • carl jacobs

            “In sin did my mother conceive me.”. That isn’t a reference to sex. Sin attaches at conception and sin is associated with men. I don’t see any other discontinuity in the life of a man to account for the transition from a few cells to human being.

          • Anton

            I proposed one, at cell differentiation. I’m happy to discuss that. You might consider that it is hard to define. But so actually is “moment of conception”: when membranes of sperm and egg first touch? When they fuse? When genetic material meets? When the genes of the combination have settled down? And why one answer over another? Grey areas aren’t easy to define but that’s why we need wisdom rather than ducking out.

          • carl jacobs

            We know this. At some time t there is no man. At some time t+dt there is a man. Things happen in finite time so dt has real duration. What is the duration of dt? I don’t know. I don’t really need to know because I have no intention of making decisions based upon knowing that interval. I will assert however that dt is limited by the presence of a formed DNA structure. A man is uniquely identified by his DNA. After some further interval tau, division and growth begins. That is the start of the continuum. There are no further discontinuities in this life until the moment of death.

            I don’t need to make arbitrary distinctions. All I have to do is nothing. I don’t need to know the answers to these impossible questions if I just do nothing. I am content to let God worry about things He has not revealed. But I don’t want to insert myself into the middle of a profound spiritual mystery when I don’t know the implications of what I am doing.

          • Anton

            Certainly you need to do nothing if you are married and have children. Not all husbands and wives are in that situation, though, and you did choose to enter this discussion of IVF.

            NB “dt” conventionally represents an infinitesimally short interval of time in the differential calculus.

          • carl jacobs

            Anton

            Your argument reduces to this.

            For the sake of my personal sense of happiness and fulfilment, I can ignore the fate of the unused embryos. I can rationalize my decision by hypothesizing that there really isn’t a human being involved until some arbitrary boundary is crossed. I get to set that boundary based on pure speculation.

            You don’t have the first clue regarding the implications of what you are doing. Not. The. First. Clue.

          • Anton

            I was taught that people resort to abuse when they run out of arguments. I realise that I was well taught.

          • carl jacobs

            There was no abuse, Anton. None at all.

          • That’s the argument of all abortionists …. they just use different milestones to yours.

          • Anton

            As I wrote to Carl: I proposed one at cell differentiation. You might consider that it is hard to define. But so actually is “moment of conception”: when membranes of sperm and egg first touch? When they fuse? When genetic material meets? When the genes of the combination have settled down? And why one answer over another? Grey areas aren’t easy to define but that’s why we need wisdom.

          • Simple – just do not interfere with the natural processes of life at all. There’s no “wisdom” required, unless you’re looking for some justification by these human constructs.

          • Anton

            Catholic friends looked into why they were not having babies after they got married. There was found to be a problem inside the woman which was readily rectifiable by an operation. This was performed. They now have children. According to what you wrote, “do not interfere with the natural processes of life at all”, that was wrong. Do you agree? Does the Vatican?

          • … of course not. Did they conceive naturally, is the issue. A medical issue can be morally rectified by a surgical procedure. This is not the same as artificially preventing, ending or technologically manipulating the conception process. It’s the same with fertility treatment, for either a man or woman, e.g. low sperm count or failure to ovulate. This facilitates natural processes as opposed to blocking or perverting nature.

          • Anton

            “Did they conceive naturally, is the issue.”

            It’s the issue because you say it’s the issue. But why is it the issue?

          • Because that’s the way God planned it ….

            Simply because we want something does not mean that we have a right to it. We are not the center of creation; God is. It is God who decides what our rights are.

            God designed our sexuality. It is He who has the right to determine how we are to use it, and He has. He designed the context in which children are to be born, nurtured, and challenged on their way to adulthood. Each child has a right to be the result of God’s design: the product of the love of father and mother as expressed in the mutual self-gift of sexual union.

            The design is God’s. No one has the right to counter his design by pulling conception out of its context and de-personalizing it. Trusting God and working within his laws is the way to approach any challenge we are presented with in life.

          • Anton

            No; what we have is God’s design marred by Satan. We are free to mitigate the effect of the Fall in various ways, such as appendectomies which are hardly “natural”. Why should not IVF for husband and wife (with no third party) be in the same category?

          • Jack has already explained why they are in different categories.

            [M]arriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation. A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents. For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.”

            (Instruction on Respect for Human Life)

            The full Catholic answer is given here:

            http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19870222_respect-for-human-life_en.html

            The CCC states it:

            “Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization). . . dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.”
            (CCC 2377)

          • Anton

            The Catholic bottom line appears to be that the act of sexual intercourse between husband and wife is the only legitimate way in which a child may be conceived; hence not IVF. Catholic reasons appear to be that

            Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization). . . dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act

            That is partly true, but so what? As the sexual act is pleasurable and cost-free and IVF is neither, this dissociation is only going to involve couples who cannot have children in the usual way. The Catholic rationale is that

            The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another

            There is the error. By agreeing to have her egg fertilised in vitro by her husband’s sperm, the wife emphatically is giving herself – a vital part of herself – to her husband. (To see this, imagine her reaction if the sperm used were somebody else’s.) Correspondingly, the husband to the wife. What they are not doing, obviously, is giving themselves to each other in sexual intercourse so as to conceive. but so what?

            The subsequent words talk of human rights of children who might not exist, and make little logical sense.

          • The Church teaches there is an “inseparable connection established by God between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.”

            You are dipping and diving and extracting odd sentences here and there. Why not read the document Jack posted a link to?

            The “act” whereby a man and a woman “give themselves to one another” involves a third party; it involves the woman passively having a number of eggs removed; it requires the man to ejaculate sperm into a container. Thereafter, in a laboratory, several eggs are fertilised by a technician unknown to them and any child. A few fertilised eggs will be selected for implantation – the remaining human life discarded or frozen.

            Jack repeats – this clinical process dissociates the sexual act of unitive love from the procreative act. The couple are placing the initiative, and the life and identity of the embryo, with doctors and biologists. Technology dominates the process of the laboratory origin of the human person – not conjugal love.

            “[M]arriage does not confer upon the spouses the right to have a child, but only the right to perform those natural acts which are per se ordered to procreation.”

            Does the bible ever confer the right to child to an adult?

            “A true and proper right to a child would be contrary to the child’s dignity and nature. The child is not an object to which one has a right, nor can he be considered as an object of ownership: rather, a child is a gift, “the supreme gift” and the most gratuitous gift of marriage, and is a living testimony of the mutual giving of his parents.”

            Is a child ever viewed as an object of entitlement and ownership in scripture – as opposed to God’s gift?

            For this reason, the child has the right, as already mentioned, to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents; and he also has the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception.”
            That’s the teaching.

          • Anton

            “You are dipping and diving and extracting odd sentences here and there.”

            That is a judgement which His Grace’s readers have the right to decide for themselves. If the document is so deep and rich then you will be able to use it as a resource against me in argument and it is my loss that I am not familiar with it. It is not a loss I am feeling, however.

            “Jack repeats – this clinical process dissociates the sexual act of unitive love from the procreative act. The couple are placing the initiative, and the life and identity of the embryo, with doctors and biologists. Technology dominates the process of the laboratory origin of the human person – not conjugal love.”

            And I repeat: By agreeing to have her egg fertilised in vitro by her husband’s sperm (and nobody else’s), the wife is giving herself – a vital part of herself – to her husband. That is how she shows her love in this situation. Conversely the husband to the wife. And the result is a child which is livingly half of each, totally intermingled genetically. That the couple are almost certainly not surgeons and therefore need others to help them is not relevant at all. They take all the important decisions. I agree that “this clinical process dissociates the sexual act of unitive love from the procreative act” but so what? According to you it’s OK to perform an operation on the woman to open her fallopian tubes if they are wonky; it’s OK for a married couple to have sex at a time when they know that the woman is infertile; but IVF is not OK!

            “Is a child ever viewed as an object of entitlement and ownership in scripture – as opposed to God’s gift?”

            A child is viewed as a blessing. If man has fallen and one outworking of the Fall is that a couple need IVF to conceive, I believe this is one way of mitigating the Fall.

            It all seems to be coming down to your (church’s) insistence that, while husband and wife are free to choose the timing of sexual intercourse in relation to fertility, the act itself must not be interfered with in any way – no contraception (barrier or otherwise), no other way to conceive a child. I find this arbitrary. I think that a general council of episkopoi who were permitted to marry might think differently. But nowadays the papacy is above councils and episkopoi may not marry. Neither change is for the better.

          • “A child is viewed as a blessing. If man has fallen and one outworking of the Fall is that a couple need IVF to conceive, I believe this is one way of mitigating the Fall.”

            The outcome of the Fall is man’s moral compass, his God given conscience, is clouded by his own needs and wants. One of the areas this is most prevalent is in the area of sexual relationships and family life where man is claiming ever more freedom from God’s laws – contraception, HIV, abortion, divorce and remarriage, gender ‘realignment’, same sex marriage.

            They all spring from the same root – human rebellion.

            The Catholic Church holds God reveals His design and intention for the way man should live through scripture and natural law What the husband and wife are doing in artificial contraception and artificial conception is asserting their ‘right’ over God’s to create new life. They are asserting it is for them to decide – and not them in cooperation with God through the natural processes He has determined. There is no ‘right’ to a child. There is no ‘right’ to sex without its fruit, children. This is what is being claimed.

            There are certain aspects of the Fall of man that cannot be “mitigated”. One of the outcomes is old age and a painful death. Another is physical disability and/or mental/intellectual impairment, depression and mental illness. If these cannot be remedied by medical assistance, does man have the ‘right’ to claim Sovereignty and intervene in the process of death – out of ‘love’ and ‘compassion’ for the suffering of others? If not why not?

          • Anton

            I have some time for the Catholic notion of “natural law” but I don’t go all the way with it. Because our moral compass is clouded by the Fall (as we agree) we cannot be sure what constitutes natural law. But we do have a legal code that God himself has given, the Law of Moses, and that – or at least its moral (ie, interpersonal) components – should be the touchstone. Mostly God did not explain why those laws and penalties are as they are (or were), and where Catholic philosophers have sought explanation I applaud the effort. The results are exactly what is needed when lobbying/arguing for decent laws in Westminster today.

            I have, if you recall, explained on previous threads that the notion of human rights is a logical nonsense. I actually agree with you that asserting “parental rights” would be a poor way to argue my side – which is why I haven’t.

            God gives us choices, and through medical research we have more options than previously. Using these to mitigate the effects of the Fall where possible is a good thing, and I can find no reason in what you say not to include husband/wife IVF in that. God said that Eve was created as a companion for Adam: neither as a brood mare nor as a free prostitute.

          • Ah, “brood mare” and “prostitute”; terms used by radical feminists to challenge the patriarchal structure and to claim “reproductive rights”. Why does your use of these words not surprise Jack?
            Yes, we have more options to improve our lives. And with these options comes a greater need to be clear about our moral use of the technologies available. Natural law is discernable through objective reasoning and logic. When assisted by scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is man’s surest way of discerning and living by God’s ordinances and according to His creative design.

          • Anton

            Ah, “brood mare” and “prostitute”; terms used by radical feminists to challenge the patriarchal structure and to claim “reproductive rights”. Why does your use of these words not surprise Jack?

            I was, of course, choosing extreme terms to make the point. Extremists are likely to use extreme terms but as you well know I am a male evangelical Christian and not a secular radical feminist.

            Why does Jack think it’s clever to ask questions about himself to others?

          • “Why does Jack think it’s clever to ask questions about himself to others?”
            Does Jack do this?

          • Anton

            Jack wrote: “Why does your use of these words not surprise Jack?”

          • Did he?

          • Anton

            Yes; Jack wrote above: “Ah, “brood mare” and “prostitute”; terms used by radical feminists to challenge the patriarchal structure and to claim “reproductive rights”. Why does your use of these words not surprise Jack?”

          • Well, Jack is surprised. Do you think Jack should stop this habit?

          • Anton

            It depends on how Jack wishes to come across.

          • You think Jack should be worried about that?

          • Anton

            I wish Jack well but hesitate to advise about that.

          • Then Jack thanks you for this discussion …. and awaits the next one.

          • Anton

            And thank you!

          • Anton

            PS What of fertility drugs offered to the wife with the sole aim of assisting her to conceive in the natural way?

          • Nothing morally objectionable with that.

          • sarky

            Only a small number of eggs are produced, an even smaller amount are viable once fertilised. These are then implanted and not all naturally take. How is it different from the natural process where any of the above can happen?

          • Anton

            As you know I have no problems with marital IVF not involving third parties. I think the reply you’d get from Catholics and some evangelicals is that nature is fallen and that in an unfallen world every fertilised ovum would implant and not be deformed. But I’d welcome confirmation of that.

          • sarky

            You can’t really argue with that kind of twisted logic. Thankfully more of us are a bit more enlightened.

          • Phil R

            Or as this enlightened logic has taken us before.

            “Only a Jew”.

            You see the twisted logic is on your side of the fence.

          • sarky

            No, I think you just demonstrated it perfectly.

          • Phil R

            So nice, murder it seems is whatever I define it to be.

          • Phil R

            Please point out the absolute crap.

            Life was intentionally created and destroyed to produce the daughter.

            That is a fact. I didn’t call it murder and perhaps I should. Because if I don’t sooner or later it will not be called murder when your child is killed because they wanted their car.

            One day will the daughter worry about the life that was destroyed so she can live?

          • sarky

            Do you actually understand the process of IVF?
            What life was destroyed?
            How can you equate implanted embryos not ‘taking’ to a car jacking?
            I think there’s still a bit of evolving required.

          • Phil R

            A few days ago I drove past the camp of Bergen Belsen to avoid a traffic jam on the A7 motorway between hamburg and Hannover.

            Why should I get upset when people create life and discard them? They are not babies you say they are they are embryos. So not worthy of any sort of respect or concern.

            Why should the inhabitants of Bergen, Celle or Soltau be concerned about what happened in nearby Bergen Belsen? In the main they didn’t because in the camp was “were mostly only Jews or Russians”.

            It didn’t matter what was done to them because they were “only Jews or Russians”.

            If you cannot see the connection then you also need to evolve.

          • sarky

            Again… where is life discarded??

          • carl jacobs

            As it so happens, I also have a close relative who conceived two children through IVF.

            were wrong were they?

            Assuming no embryos were discarded and both egg and sperm originate with the couple, then I could accept it. But I consider it an inherently dangerous technology.

          • sarky

            You could say that of any technology.

          • dannybhoy

            I have a close family member who went down the ‘scientific route with a donor’ , and I flirted with the IV idea then decided to let natural biology take its course. So one family member had a child, and I had none.
            Over the years, in chatting with people who had children, who adopted, who were adopted, who struggled to conceive etc., I came to this conclusion….
            That sometimes parents and children simply don’t get on; that there can be all kinds of problems, personality clashes and heartaches.
            If that child was born ‘au naturel’ you have to make the best of things. You accept them as ‘a gift of God’, a result of your joint love etc..
            If on the other hand you were determined to have a child and went down the ‘scientific route’ and problems develop, you only have yourself to blame!

          • sarky

            The child is born ‘au natural’. It is carried by its mother for 9 months and delivered normally. This is not frankensteins monster we are talking about.
            I would argue that IVF children are even more precious due to the heartache and struggle the parents go through to get them.

        • dannybhoy
      • IanCad
      • How long have you got? This article sums up Jack’s views:

        https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6018

        These are the two central themes:
        “Stepping away from God’s law always introduces chaos into our lives. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of in vitro fertilization”; and
        “When science and technology open doors that should not be opened, a Pandora’s box spews forth evils that menace humanity.”

        What are God’s laws? The Church teaches there is an “inseparable connection established by God between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.” In this sense, in vitro fertilization, by doing away with the unitive meaning, is the mirror image of contraception which suppresses the procreative meaning of the conjugal act. The marital act is one of mutual self-giving and mutual acceptance of two persons in love. It reflects the inner life of God in the Holy Trinity, a communion of love.

        The only morally acceptable framework for human reproduction is marriage and the conjugal act. Any conception engineered with semen or ova donated by a third party is thus opposed to the exclusivity of a married couple. It is also an anomaly for a donor to contribute to the conception of a child with the express intention of having nothing to do with that child’s upbringing. Donation of semen or ova, and the use of surrogate motherhood to bear the child are contrary to the unity of marriage and to the dignity of the procreation of the human person. In the act of procreation the spouses cooperate with God; and a child’s coming-to-be should be sought only as a fruit of the spouses’ personal loving union in the marital act.

        The Church also addresses where conception involve only the married couple’s semen, ovum, and womb. These techniques are “less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable.” They dissociate procreation from the sexual act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons (husband and wife) give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of the doctors and biologists, and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.”

        • Anton

          “The Church also addresses where conception involve only the married couple’s semen, ovum, and womb. These techniques are”less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable.” ”

          That is one Christian opinion, but it is not mine.

          • So put your views forward … or not. Then, you also support artificial contraception which is the “mirror image” of IVF. You will also have to defend the disposal of fertilised embryos, i.e. abortion of created life, a by-product of this process.

          • Anton

            Let it first be understood that I regard sexual intercourse as good only between husband and wife, and that I do not support IVF involving the sperm or eggs or womb of third parties.

            I regard comments about sundering sexual intercourse from procreation as arbitrary and, coming from a bunch of men who are celibate, uninformed. In any case the Vatican has conceded that it is OK for husband and wife to have sexual intercourse at times when they know conception is impossible. it is absurd to permit that but ban the use of a condom.

            An argument remains that is the same against both IVF and non-barrier forms of contraception, namely that fertilised ova are likely to be discarded. The main reason not to do this is that, supposedly, at some moment a complete human spirit is slipped into an embryo – which might comprise only a few cells. But such a process of ‘ensoulment’ is not found in the Bible; when God said to Jeremiah (1:5), “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you,” God might have meant that He knew, from His plans, what Jeremiah’s personality would be, as a ship designer ‘knows’ a ship he has designed on his drawing board. We have no memory of having known God in a disembodied state prior to our lives on earth, after all. The spiritual capability of humans obviously grows in parallel with the body (including in the womb), as the body grows more complex. Perhaps the advent of cell differentiation into different types, about four days after fertilisation, should be the cut-off time for the ‘morning-after’ pill in emergencies such as rape.

            I am aware that many evangelicals do not share this view but I believe they are making the same assumption as the Vatican, about ensoulment, without thinking it through.

          • “The main reason not to do this is that, supposedly, at some moment a complete human spirit is slipped into an embryo – which might comprise only a few cells.”
            No, that’s not a reason at all. You need to research this more, if you believe this The Church has declared nothing definite about ensoulment. It’s objection to abortion is based on the fact that life in all it’s potential is present and man has no right to end that which God has created.
            As for natural as opposed to artificial means of planning one’s family, the clue is in the word natural. The sex act remains open to life – which is why most people don’t trust it. It also requires a period of abstinence, another reason people don’t want to use it. As for the Church being celibate men – how is that relevant?

          • Anton

            Because it helps to know what you are talking about. That is why Paul tells Timothy that an episkopos should run his own family well and be a one-woman man (1 Tim 3). Had Rome kept that advice it would not now be in one of the messes it is in.

            The distinction between natural and artificial is artificial.

            I am most willing to be corrected over what is Roman Catholic doctrine by you; less so over its truth value. There will in any case be a monthly period of abstinence during the wife’s menstruation.

          • “Because it helps to know what you are talking about. That is why Paul tells Timothy that an episkopos should run his own family well and be a one-woman man.”
            So far as we know, Saint Paul was an unmarried man and, one assumes, celibate. What matters is one’s capacity to discern spiritual truth and not one’s station in life.

            And you’ve no addressed the central issue in Catholic teaching – the “inseparable connection established by God between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.” It is this which IVF and artificial contraception disrupt. And both usurp God’s Sovereignty by us deciding we are no longer co-creators with Him.

            And, however you dress it up, IVF entails abortion.

          • Anton

            Clearly Paul was unmarried at the time he wrote but he might have been a widower and it was normal for rabbis to be (or have been) married. But that is irrelevant to the point that the Vatican is acting no better than Giles Fraser in wantonly contradicting the words of holy scripture with its own ideas, in this case celibacy of episkopoi.

            “inseparable connection established by God between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.”

            So you think that post-menopausal widows should not remarry?

            Correct me if I am wrong – you are the Catholic – but is not Catholic doctrine that the use of a condom (within marriage) reduces sexual intercourse to mutual satisfaction of lust? In that case, isn’t sexual intercourse at a date the wife is known to be infertile exactly the same, in which case why is that permitted by Rome?

            In any case don’t agree with the view that use of a condom reduces it to lust. It can still be an act of love in which husband and wife both give and receive joy, making it a mutual act.

            As for what is natural versus what is artificial, we live in a fallen world and some people need appendectomies, which is a highly artificial procedure but surely a good thing now we have it?

          • dannybhoy

            To hold off having a child for domestic economic reasons, health or employment, is surely being responsible?
            To bring a child into the world when you can’t provide for it, is to my mind irresponsible.

          • Phil R

            My wife was screamed at when she was carrying our 5th child to have an abortion by her mother as we could not possibly afford so many.

            God has been good to us and we have afforded them easily. You see we don’t provide for children.

          • You’re making all sorts of leaps in logic here that Jack doesn’t know where to start.

            “…wantonly contradicting the words of St Paul in holy scripture with its own ideas, in this case celibacy of episkopoi ….”

            Albert explained all this some time ago. Saint Paul wasn’t making marriage mandatory. He was simply stating a bishop shouldn’t have more than one wife.

            “So you think that post-menopausal widows should not remarry?”

            How does that follow? Infertile men can marry too. The Church does not teach men and women must be naturally capable of procreating, just that they should do nothing to artificially prevent procreation. The conjugal act must be ” open to life. Read the statement again: “inseparable connection established by God between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act.”” Can you see the distinction?

            “Correct me if I am wrong – you are the Catholic – but is not Catholic doctrine that the use of a condom (within marriage) reduces sexual intercourse to mutual satisfaction of lust?”

            The married act can still be unitive and loving and may, by this standard, not be lustful. A biblical definition of lust involves more than feeling and acting on a strong sexual desire. Artificially disrupting the natural connection with procreation and wilfully seeking sexually pleasurable gratification and/or expressing wrongfully directed sexual desire, would be lustful. This is one of the moral objections to same sex acts and to acts such as sodomy between men and women. They may be unitive but they are not naturally “open to life” and are therefore “intrinsically evil”.

            “In any case I don’t agree with the view that use of a condom reduces it to lust. It can still be an act of love in which husband and wife both give and receive joy, making it a mutual act.”

            That’s the arguments used by those Christians in favour of same sex ‘marriage’.

            “In that case, isn’t sexual intercourse at a date the wife is known to be infertile exactly the same, in which case why is that permitted by Rome?”

            Jack has addressed this point already. Natural family planning which is nevertheless “open to life”, can be misused by a couple to avoid all children and would therefore be sinful. Used morally, it is a God given method of cooperating with God in a humanly responsible way.

            “As for what is natural versus what is artificial, we live in a fallen world and some people need appendectomies, which is a highly artificial procedure but surely a good thing now we have it?”
            There is no moral objections to man using medical technology to protect, enhance or promote physical or mental wellbeing. The equivalent moral comparison would be to consider the immorality of sterilisation procedures or artificially ending life. These are intended to usurp God’s Sovereignty, not cooperate with it.

          • Anton

            Where did I say that Paul was making marriage compulsory for episkopoi in his letter to Timothy? My point was always that by insisting episkopoi be celibate the Vatican is taking away a freedom which God means them to have – a freedom (to marry) that follows unambiguously from this passage.

            “The Church does not teach men and women must be naturally capable of procreating, just that they should do nothing to artificially prevent procreation.”

            In the absence of a derivation from scripture (plus any mutually acceptable further axioms), I conclude that the Vatican is again taking away freedoms which God intends people – in this case married couples – to have.

            Me: “In any case I don’t agree with the view that use of a condom reduces it to lust. It can still be an act of love in which husband and wife both give and receive joy, making it a mutual act.”

            Jack: “That’s the arguments used by those Christians in favour of same sex ‘marriage’.”

            That does not make it a wrong argument! We rule out same-sex “marriage” on other grounds, that God stringently legislates against it in the Law of Moses, and the definition of sin in interpersonal relations did not change at the Crucifixion.

          • Hmmm …. so you want to be free to marry? Then don’t become a Catholic priest. No one is compelled to marry by scripture; no one is compelled by Catholicism to be a priest.

            And Jack’s arguments against artificial contraception were somewhat fuller:

            “The married act can still be unitive and loving and may, by this standard, not be lustful. A biblical definition of lust involves more than feeling and acting on a strong sexual desire. Artificially disrupting the natural connection with procreation and wilfully seeking sexually pleasurable gratification and/or expressing wrongfully directed sexual desire, would be lustful. This is one of the moral objections to same sex acts and to acts such as sodomy between men and women. They may be unitive but they are not naturally “open to life” and are therefore “intrinsically evil”.

            The doctrine of sola scripture is extra-biblical, yet you rely on it:

            “In the absence of a derivation from scripture (plus any mutually acceptable further axioms), I conclude that the Vatican is again taking away freedoms which God intends people – in this case married couples – to have.”

            You will know the orthodox understanding of the “Sin of Onan”. Besides, based firmly on scripture, the Church is Apostolic and has been given its authority and teaching and sacramental role by Christ Himself. We have 2000 of Tradition which, across all Christian churches, consistently taught against artificial means of preventing conception.

          • Anton

            “you want to be free to marry? Then don’t become a Catholic priest. No one is compelled to marry by scripture; no one is compelled by Catholicism to be a priest.”

            Have you not deliberately misunderstood me? St Paul speaks of an episkopos as a “one-woman man”. That implies at minimum that episkopoi are free to marry in God’s eyes. But Rome, by insisting on celibacy, denies them a freedom that God intends them to have. Denying people freedoms granted by God is a bad idea. At the least it removes from the field of potential episkopoi many men that God would regard as episcopal material. Perhaps the consequences can be seen in their universal attempt to illegally cover up priestly paedophilia in every diocese in which it is known to have happened.

            I am not relying on sola scriptura in this discussion (although in previous discussions I have explained it to you) but am merely requiring that anything churchly be consistent with scripture.

            “Artificially disrupting the natural connection with procreation and wilfully seeking sexually pleasurable gratification and/or expressing wrongfully directed sexual desire, would be lustful.”

            That is complete nonsense. I can scarcely think of anything less lustful than an IVF procedure in which a wife goes to a surgery to have an egg extracted so that she and her husband can have a child which is 50% herself genetically and 50% him genetically: a living expression of their marital unity.

            Until recently contraception was unreliable, involved noxious substances, and was associated with prostitution. That is why the church condemned it through the ages but the situation has changed.

          • Paul was making his comments at a time when having more than one wife was not uncommon. No ore can be inferred from his comments other than a bishop should not be a bigamist, adulterer or in a polygamous marriage.
            And you know that comment Jack posted was in relation to artificial contraception and not artificial conception. The arguments there are the reverse – the mirror image.
            The Church condemned contraception because it was sinful; period. And has the situation changed so much? Artificial contraception and abortion are the moral blights of our society.

          • Anton

            Abortion is one of the main moral blights on our society, agreed. Marital contraception – disagreed. “The Church condemned contraception because it was sinful; period.” That’s not an argument, of course. The Bible is silent on the primitive forms of contraception tried at the time, and Onan is condemned for refusing the ancient rule of giving his brother’s widow a child and instead using her body for sexual gratification under false pretences. Contraception was long associated with noxious brews and prostitution and that is why it was condemned.

            Comments elicited by a particular situation may have universal applicability; that is precisely why they make it into scripture. Unless you add anything substantial then I’ve no more to say about Paul’s comments on an episkopos being a “one-woman man” and that the Vatican, by insisting on celibacy, is taking away a God-granted freedom. Let His Grace’s readers decide for themselves.

          • “Onan is condemned for refusing the ancient rule of giving his brother’s widow a child and instead using her body for sexual gratification under false pretences.”

            And God killed him which by the standards of Judaic law was exceptionally harsh. Onan’s sin was acting in such a way that intentionally sterilise the act. Using another person’s body for sexual gratification, without the intention of the marriage act being both unitive and open to procreation, is sinful. Natural family planning never attempts to render an act sterile as every act remains open to the possibility of procreation.

            Onan misused the sexual organs God gave him for propagating the race to unnaturally satisfy his own lust. His intrinsically sterile genital act violated natural law as it was an act of life-suppressing lust. The explicit detail in the biblical text makes this clear – it refers to his act and not his intentions.

            As for priestly celibacy … get over yourself.

            There are no biblical injunctions against a man voluntarily accepting chastity to become a priest. And you can make no link between this and the Catholic Church’s teachings. The Church may well change this at some future date but it will not be because it is unscriptural, nor because it prevents them understanding sexual morality – a laughable proposition.

          • Anton

            Regarding Onan, the Bible habitually describes people’s acts rather than their thoughts. View his action from his sister-in-law’s perspective and it becomes pretty obvious what his sin was: leading her on to think that he was going to satisfy the traditional requirement and then breaking their understanding at the most intimate moment and thereby revealing that he had always intended to treat her merely as a paid whore. It is surely the non-consensual aspect of his action and the agreement-breaking that is outrageous, more than the spilling of seed which is merely a consequence of the darkness in his heart.

            “Natural family planning never attempts to render an act sterile as every act remains open to the possibility of procreation.”

            So it is morally acceptable for a married couple who don’t want more children to have sex only when they know the woman is infertile because if they make a mistake “the act remains open to the possibility of procreation”? That’s weird.

            “As for priestly celibacy … get over yourself. There are no biblical injunctions against a man voluntarily accepting chastity to become a priest. And you can make no link between this and the Catholic Church’s teachings. The Church may well change this at some future date but it will not be because it is unscriptural, nor because it prevents them understanding sexual morality – a laughable proposition.”

            What is laughable is a bunch of elderly and (theoretically) celibate men pontificating about sex and marriage in the way they do. About half of Roman Catholics take the same view, I believe, judging by the size of their families today. Paul says (1 Tim 3) that an episkopos should run his own family well for if he cannot do that then how can he run God’s family well? The implication is clear that familial experience is helpful to church leadership, and the lack of it in the Vatican is obvious. Read also what Paul told Timothy about those who try to forbid marriage a chapter later.

          • Scripture informs us Onan’s act was driven by a desire to avoid impregnation – he didn’t want to father a child. There’s no reference to him feeling lust or desire. The bible rarely gives such detail about sexual matters, yet here it does. This indicates the act was the gross offence and this was why God took his life.

            “What is laughable is a bunch of elderly and (theoretically) celibate men pontificating about sex and marriage in the way they do”

            That’s an argument? More like a personal slur and merely demonstrates you’ve run out of arguments.

          • Anton

            i never claimed it as an argument, but you were the one who started calling things in my comments laughable. It’s hardly a personal slur if it doesn’t enable any individual to be identified and for the tragicomic history of celibacy in the Catholic church see H.C. Lea’s book An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church. The effects of neglecting God’s word (in this case through St Paul) are always bad: long-term mistresses (wives in all but name) or immoral transient sexual encounters, or a frustrated or “atypical” clergy. A survey of 800 Catholic priests in Poland by Prof. Josef Baniak (2009) found that more than half wished to have the option of marrying. A study by Dean Hoge called The First Five Years of the Priesthood (2002) found that, of the 10-15% of (North) American Catholic priests who resign within five years of ordination, more than half did so for this reason. Hoge found that the acute shortage of ordinands in the USA would cease if priests were permitted to marry. In the diocese of Chicago almost half of those ordained in the years following 1976 resigned and married (The Tablet 1988 p1301, detailing work of Richard Schoenherr).

            The financial responsibility of caring for Er’s widow would presumably be transferred to Onan if he gave her a child and he didn’t want that. So he hoodwinked her by enjoying her body and then denying her the child at the last moment. “What he did was evil before God” – yes, and what he did was hoodwink her and deny her a child.

          • Jack is aware of the challenges of celibacy – these do not make the discipline unbiblical. He is also aware of the various ‘scholarly’ studies describing the issues and those campaigning against it for a range of motives.
            Study adultery – a good proportion of men and women are unfaithful to their spouses. ‘Scholars’ will tell you it goes against our ‘nature’ to be monogamous. Yet we are expected to make vows and to adhere to them for life. Is this unreasonable? The failures of individuals is not a justification for extra marital sex and nor does it disqualify the permanency of marriage.
            Celibacy and chastity Is a discipline. Did Our Lord express this aspect of His humanity? Did He have sexual desire? Is it ‘reasonable’ to expect celibacy from the unmarried? From those who ‘feel’ no attraction to the opposite sex and are sexually interested in same sex relationships?

          • Anton

            I’m with you on the importance of marriage vows Jack. But you also wrote that you were “aware of the challenges of celibacy – these do not make the discipline unbiblical.” Quite true; it is the denial of the freedom to marry to episkopoi which is unbiblical, in view of Paul’s comments about their families in 1 Tim 3.

            By the way, you stress the importance of not separating the unitive and procreative functions of sexual intercourse. But hasn’t God done that? Women, unlike female mammals, remain sexually receptive when infertile: at the wrong part of the oestrus cycle, when pregnant or lactating, or after
            menopause.

          • Lol …. are animals made in the image and likeness of God? Sex has unitive functions too.

          • Anton

            We both know the answer to that…

          • sarky

            The most boring place on the planet? ??

            A Catholics bedroom.

          • Never dated a Catholic lass? Guess you’ll never know how wrong you are, Sarky.

          • sarky

            My Mrs is a very lapsed Catholic 😉

          • They are the worst …. or best …. depending on one’s point of view.

        • sarky

          Having seen the absolute joy IVF can bring, I cannot agree with anything you have said. If thats emotionalism, then so be it.

        • not a machine

          I enjoyed that happy jack quite a profound piece. Although do you think gods mercy exists for such technological sins ?

          • Of course – God’s mercy is limitless.

          • Pubcrawler

            But not necessarily unconditional.

          • The only “condition” being a repentant heart and a turning to Him through Jesus. And even this repentance is prompted by His grace and the very turning itself is facilitated by Him.

            As Saint Paul teaches: “And justification comes to us as a free gift from his grace, through our redemption in Christ Jesus. God has offered him to us as a means of reconciliation, in virtue of faith, ransoming us with his blood. Thus God has vindicated his own holiness, shewing us why he overlooked our former sins in the days of his forbearance; and he has also vindicated the holiness of Jesus Christ, here and now, as one who is himself holy, and imparts holiness to those who take their stand upon faith in him.”

          • Pubcrawler

            “The only “condition” being a repentant heart”

            Aye, there’s the rub.

          • … and His ways are not ours.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed they are not. For all that some (not particularly with any Anglican clergy in mind) would like them to be . . .

          • … and some Catholic clergy.

          • Pubcrawler

            I don’t think the laity are entirely without sin here, either (and I include myself). But idly or vainly wishing from time to time that God’s ways matched our desires is perhaps less serious than being conviced — even against scripture — that that is the case.

            On which note I must now introduce my head to my pillow. A peaceful night to you, Jack.

          • James M

            Which is based upon the Grace of God. IOW, it has no source in anything done by creatures (there are “elect angels” as well as elect men). The Grace of God is so all-pervasive that ultimately no good thing has any source except Grace. Merit – in the strict and proper sense of the word – is simply not possible to a created being, because it cannot be independent of the God Who alone is its Creator.

          • not a machine

            difficult one Happy jack I thank you

    • Anton

      What about men priestesses?

      • avi barzel

        If you can pick any gender you want, you should be able to add an “-ess” to priest.

        • Dude

          Good idea and that’s what I thought. But it isn’t political correctness. It’s like why I call even girls dudes (unless they are babes) which some have said is sexism on my part.

          Well the answer is I’m not sexist, but the reason for my gender neutrality is because on one ecumenical occasion a few years ago I introduced an Anglican female vicar as a Priestess, which is of course the feminine of Priest. Little did I know that the Anglican clergy use the masculine Priest regardless of gender (same goes, apparently for female Rabbis of the reform tradition). I do now. So I simply apply the same logic to the word dude, which like Priest , I apply to female readers. Is this sexist? Is calling a female Rabbi a Rabbi sexist? Or a female Priest a Priest, rather than Priestess?

          • Anton

            Dudette?

          • James M

            Rabbi being a Semitic word, and -t- commonly being a semantic marker for the feminine case, surely a lady Rabbi is – a Rabbit ?

      • True – Jack forgot there is no longer male and female but 50+ ‘genders’.

        • James M

          That would have made Galatians unreadably long.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace, as the Host of this post I almost wondered if it was written by you to support your belief in the Conservatives as the only party worthy of consideration. Upon further consideration I believe that even you can’t be so obtuse.

    What is it about Christians that they get so heated about which party should be in power. From my own experience of 67 years a a voter I’m not sure how much difference it makes which party is in. Sure, you can expect variations in direction that have an ultimate effect (usually by the time of the next election) but in truth it keeps the politicians on their toes if they want to be re-elected.

    I have been unashamedly Conservative in my support of their policies in the past. Conservative (keeping things the same) and with a social conscience. A successful economy is the only way to provide for the people. They just need to ensure that taxation is fair, not like for Amazon, Starbucks, Google and many others.
    My problem this time was that Cameron was still at the top and he is not Conservative in the Morality camp. Please pray for him.

    • “Upon
      further consideration I believe that even you can’t be so obtuse.”

      Bless you.

      • Grouchy Jack

        … did he sneeze?

      • Shadrach Fire

        Bless you too. Your the clever one.

        • dannybhoy

          Maybe won’t rank amongst your most polite (or tactful) opening sentences of all time SF..
          ;0)

  • The Explorer

    I’m surprised that a vicar so committed to socio-political issues is actually bothered about communion.

  • Matt A

    Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.

    • Pubcrawler

      Except in Belgium.

  • I found Section 115 (2) (a) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 quite interesting reading…

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1983/2/part/II/crossheading/bribery-treating-and-undue-influence/enacted

    • Dominic Stockford

      (2)A person shall be guilty of undue influence—

      (a)if he, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict, by himself or by any other person, any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting; or…

      Do we think that the police will act in this case? There is clearly a breach of law that has occurred.

  • not a machine

    I had perhaps got in mind a different post for this , today (thur) is ascension day and it took quite a while to round up my somewhat pesky thoughts on this (to me) rather multifaceted post from YG.
    I perhaps shall begin with what I want to say at the end “Give thanks unto the Lord”…now that is sorted I shall be give it a go.
    I too am rather puzzled by meeting very nice Christian people ,who seem to have not delineated between politics and religion , no point in saying from upon high , because I have made the same error myself .It may well be that these people have never entertained some questions about religion phrased politically , but none the less you are free to vote as you wish , but then there is this matter of how you should vote if you love Jesus Christ which I often found is the flash point for a good lefty repost in any conversation. How you vote is or should be a private matter and yet for Christians voting preference can be ruinous , with a lingering possibility of a view of how Christian you actually are, once known . I have found political meddling in church to be rather ruinous in the sense that other loves can start developing rather sharp elbows , and in more extreme cases venture from the quietness of the poster , to the in your face demand for your support and questions if you do not.
    I don’t suppose it is good to say it should be banned for there is a need to inform although I do ponder if activist gets confused with evangelical . I recall Ian Hislops look at the CofE and an old photograph of a church bedecked with the sickle and hammer by a vicar who was in no doubt that communism was a gift from god.
    Of course being left leaning pre dates communism and who am I to say if some moments and clergy were not doing gods work in taking up certain causes in their time , although clearly any clergy around today who exhorted communism must have quite a bit to reflect upon .It is not easy being a member of the clergy ,error awaits us all , which is what is so wonderful about the actual setting of Christ s passion, and the subtlety of the sin he defeated , for the situation was highly politically charged ,Christ did not answer his accusers , the law could not find guilt , and then the sin was perhaps returned to the questioner in their assumption or assertion and in setting a snare , so to speak not only for the 30 pieces of silver , but others wanting power . The left like to portray Christ as a rebel, he wasn’t in my view , that aspect is perhaps Barabbas , rebellion does not always orientate yourself to do or contain good . Christ the healer is pretty clear , who would not want hearts and minds to be healed to have seen god inwardly and go onto to live the rest of their lives in service , but then we have money and food .It is perhaps fairly easy to understand Jesus anger at a peculiar franchise of the temple of asking for money to exchange for tokens to buy animals to be either sacrificed or released creating a sort of market which generated income for the temple claiming “it was his fathers house or prayer”. The roman empire at that time we know had tax collectors .Jesus fed the multitudes with a miracle of actual physical food increase at what appears to be two large gatherings St Paul illuminates other aspects of gifting and collecting money to use in mission and that the lord gives provision for his work.
    Above all I am perhaps thinking that gods work does not come through spin or whipping , but through prayer , that aligns correctly with what you need, wanting money is of little use if you haven’t prefaced it with the wisdom to do what is right with it .which is difficult and in seeking that we should “Give thanks unto the Lord”

    • dannybhoy

      Christianity was ‘born’ in a slave society and over time, as Christians grew in numbers and influence, came to dominate the Western world. Christian ’empires’ and monarchies gave way to various types of democracy and here we are.
      Christians are citizens of two kingdoms. A heavenly kingdom and the country you were born into. We are told to be good upright productive citizens and to obey the laws of the land. That has to include voting and even working towards making our secular society as fair, just and compassionate as it can be. Because we are human our societal values will be shaped by our parents, intelligence, education and character.
      So you’re going to get variance of emphasis. Sometimes it’s really tough relating to other Christians! We have a good cross section in our church, but at the risk of being attacked by others here, I would say that there is more evidence of class awareness and social standing and achievement amongst Anglicans than I have experienced in other non conformist churches….. :0)
      Christians have to remember Who it is they serve and that we remember that all in our congregation are loved by God. That if we are willing to prefer one another in love and learn from one another, these issues can be discussed without causing splits; especially if we keep in mind that like denominational differences, no political system has all the answers.
      I don’t think we’ll ever have Christians all habitually voting the same way, and I don’t think that would be desirable anyway.

      • not a machine

        mmmm seem to miss out gods only son their dannybhoy

  • The Whole Point of Ballots is to respect the outcome after the vote. Campaign instead for The British Commonwealth to make Britain Stronger in Europe.